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BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



IffiFCECTIONS 




POEMS, LYRICS, AND STORIES 



Judith Weinshall Liberman 

and 
Laura Liberman, M.D. 




BOSTON PUBLIC UBRARV 



REFLECTIONS 



ALSO BY THE AUTHORS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman: 

Introduction to Public International Law (1955) 

The Bird's Last Song (1976) 

Holocaust Wall Hangings (2002) 

My Life into Art (2007) 

Looking Back: Four Plays (2010) 

On Being an Artist: Three Plays and a Libretto (2012) 

Laura Liberman, M.D.: 

Women's Imaging: An Oncologic Focus 
(2002; co-author and editor) 

Breast MRI: Diagnosis and Intervention 
(2005; co-author and editor) 

I Signed as the Doctor: Memoir of a Cancer 
Doctor Surviving Cancer (2009) 



ABOUT THE COVER 

The image on the cover is a photograph of Judith Weinshall 
Liberman (then Judith Weinshall) and Robert Liberman, 
Laura Liberman's parents. The photograph was taken in 
Chicago in 1952, while Judith was studying for her J.D. 
degree at the University of Chicago Law School, and 
Robert was a practicing attorney who had received his J.D. 
degree from the University of Chicago Law School a few 
years earlier. Judith and Robert were married in Chicago 
in 1953, the year after this photograph was taken. 



Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Laura Liberman, M.D. 



REFLECTIONS 



Edited by 

Laura Liberman, M.D. 



iUniverse, Inc. 
Bloomington 



REFLECTIONS 

Poems, Lyrics, and Stories 

Copyright © 2012 by Judith Weinshall Liberman and Laura Liberman 

The authors are grateful for permission to use previously copyrighted materials. In all cases, 
such materials are expressly indicated in the book as having been previously copyrighted. 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, 

graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any 

information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher 

except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue 
in this book are either the products of the authors' imagination or are used fictitiously. 

iUniverse books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting: 

iUniverse 

1663 Liberty Drive 

Bloomington, IN 47403 

www.iuniverse.com 

1-800-Authors (1-800-288-4677) 

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses or links contained in 
this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views 
expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the 
views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them. 

ISBN: 978-1-4759-4191-3 (sc) 
ISBN: 978-1-4759-4198-2 (he) 
ISBN: 978-1-4759-4192-0 (e) 

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012914014 

Printed in the United States of America 

iUniverse rev. date: 9/10/2012 



This book is dedicated with love 

to the memory of 

Judith's husband and Laura's father, 

Prof. Robert Liberman 

Judith's father and Laura's grandfather, 

Dr. Abraham Weinshall 

Judith's brother and Laura's uncle, Saul Weinshall 

and to our beloved family 

Judith's son and Laura's brother, Dr. David Liberman 
Judith's grandchildren and Laura's children, 

Daniel & Nina 
Judith's grandchildren and Laura's nieces, 

Cynthia & Deborah 

Judith's son-in-law and Laura's husband, 

Dr. David Perlman 



You inspire us. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/reflectionspoemsOOIibe 



CONTENTS 

Preface xiii 

Introduction xvii 

History of the Works xxi 

POEMS AND LYRICS 1 

1 . LOVE 3 

LOVE IS LOVE 4 

HEAVEN 7 

MY PRINCE 9 

MAN AND WOMAN 13 

DO NOT SEND ME 15 

TAKE CARE, MY DARLING 16 

WHEN WE MET 18 

THE WAY HE WAS 20 

THE WORLD'S DEAREST MATE 23 

LETTER TO MY HUSBAND 25 

SOUL MATE 27 

THE BEST THING ABOUT LIFE 30 

FAITH 32 

SO DISTANT 34 

NOT FOR ME 35 

FOR FEAR 38 

HER LETTER 39 

THE LETTER THAT YOU DID NOT WRITE 42 

2. SONNETS OF NATURE 45 

I DON'T LIKE FALLING LEAVES 46 

THE FLOWERS 47 

THE ROSES 48 

THE CRABAPPLE TREE 49 

THE CHERRY TREE 50 

THE BIRD PERCHED ON THE WINDOWSILL 51 



THE MOTHER BIRD TEACHES HER YOUNG 52 

THE SQUIRRELS 53 

THE RABBITS 54 

LION AND THE LAMB 55 

WERE YOU A HONEYBEE AND I A ROSE 56 

THE BUTTERFLY 57 

CAMOUFLAGE 58 

FLYAWAY 59 

THE TREE HOUSE 60 

I MADE A LITTLE ANGEL 61 

THE PIGEONS 62 

FISHING 63 

THE SEASHELL 64 

I CAUGHT ATOAD THIS MORNING 65 

THE CAT CURLED UP 66 

CANINE CUISINE 67 

THE MOUSE TRAP 68 

THE ELEPHANTS 69 

WHY DO DOGS CHASE CARS? 70 

WHY DO CHICKENS CROSS THE STREET? 71 

3. STUDENT DAYS 73 

DEAR STUDENT 74 

PHI BETA KAPPA 76 

PLATO AND ME 79 

4. ISRAEL DIARY 95 

LETTER TO MY FATHER 96 

POLITICAL PRISONER 99 

LETTER TO MY MOTHER 101 

HER SUICIDE 104 

MY NANNY 106 

IN THE WOODS 109 

PUPPY LOVE 111 

DIAMOND RING 115 

MY BROTHER, SAUL 119 

DEAR ANNE-MARIE 121 

IN A STORMY LAND 124 

AT THE WEDDING 126 



IN HAIFA BAY 130 

THE FIELDS OF TAMRA 134 

ON THE ROAD 136 

BENEATH THE SAND 137 

TORN BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES 139 

WHAT IS THE FORCE? 143 

LOOKING BACK 145 

CHAIN 146 

THE TUNNEL 148 

BETRAYAL 150 

ON THE BEACH 154 

HOWLING WIND 157 

PET PROJECT 162 

SEEING RED 168 

REUNION 172 

THOUGHTS AT NIGHT 177 

THOUGHTS AT SUNRISE 180 

WHAT I WISH FOR IN LIFE 182 

MY DARKEST SECRET 183 

MY REGRETS 185 

LEGALLY BLIND 188 

WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND 192 

ACCOMPLISHMENT 194 

IF YOU REMEMBER ME 197 

DEATH 201 

SODOM 202 

ENDLESS WAR 204 

IN THE NAME OF GOD 207 

IN THE MILITARY CEMETERY 210 

THE BLANKET 213 

DYING YOUNG 217 

LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER 219 

RED, GRAY AND BLACK 222 

MOM, I MISS YOU 224 

ON NINE-ELEVEN 225 

THE FINGER OF GOD 227 



7. HUMAN FOIBLES 229 

HOW ARE YOU? 230 

GOOD HEALTH 233 

KNOWLEDGE 236 

MEMORY 239 

VANITY 242 

SHOP AND SHOP 245 

STOOD UP 252 

YOUR CALL 256 

RIVAL 260 

LIAR 263 

BEING DEVOUT 265 

DRIVING 268 

8. MUSINGS . 271 

ON FRIENDSHIP 272 

ON KINDNESS 274 

ON COMPASSION 276 

ON ENVY 278 

ON LONGING 279 

ON MATING 282 

ON BEING A PARENT 284 

ON BEING A GRANDMA 286 

MY HOME 289 

ON SHOWERS 292 

BEING GOOD 293 

KEEPING ON 294 

ON LIFE'S PAIN 295 

ON CAVES 297 

LET GO! 298 

IF I KNEW 300 

IF WE COULD SOAR 303 

QUEEN FOR A DAY 304 

9. ENCHANTMENT 309 

COLOR IN OUR WORLD 310 

PINK ROSES 313 

FLOWERS 315 

THE MAGIC FLOWER 318 



SNOW IS WHITE 320 

ICE CREAM SNOW 321 

I PULLED MY BACK INST. CEZAIRE 326 

MINDFULLY IN PARIS 329 

10. ART 331 

A POEM A DAY 332 

ON COLLABORATION 334 

TWENTY-SIX LETTERS 337 

TWELVE NOTES 339 

THREE HUES 341 

ON ART 344 

WHAT IS AN ARTIST? 346 

EASILY SHAKEN 349 

ARTISTS DON'T DIE 351 

WRITER'S BLOCK 353 

I WOKE UP 355 

WHAT IS THE STAR? 356 

SO MANY ROADS 357 

STORIES 359 

HOUSE TO LET 362 

ODE TO A NEUTROPHIL 364 

ICE CREAM SNOW 369 

THE LITTLE FAIRY 381 

THE VERY OLD PAINTER 396 

THE BIRD'S LAST SONG 405 

About the Author: Judith Weinshall Liberman 423 

About The Author/Editor: Laura Liberman, M.D 427 

Index 429 



PREFACE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

My materials included in this collection were written or 
adapted from works created over a period of more than 
half a century, from 1949, when I was a student at the 
University of California at Berkeley, until the present time 
(2012). 

Although I spent the bulk of my adult life creating visual 
art, I did, over the years, take time out to write, and had 
six books published. These ranged from a textbook 
on international law (INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC 
INTERNATIONAL LAW, 1955), which I wrote in Hebrew 
for use by my law students in Israel, to a children's book 
(THE BIRD'S LAST SONG, Addison-Wesley, 1976), 
to a book about one of my most important series of 
artworks (HOLOCAUST WALL HANGINGS, 2002), to 
my autobiography (MY LIFE INTO ART, 2007), to two 
books of plays (LOOKING BACK, 2010, and ON BEING 
AN ARTIST, 2012). During this half century and more, I 
also wrote many unpublished poems, stories, plays, and 
short novels. 

Having shifted my focus to playwriting after reaching 
my eighties, I developed one of my plays - GOOD OLD 
ABRAHAM - into a musical play. While doing so, I wrote 
18 lyrics and collaborated with a gifted young composer 
on the music. Working on my first musical whetted my 



XIII 



appetite for that theatrical genre, so I wrote the libretto 
for my second musical, TO BE AN ARTIST, which 
included 20 lyrics. Again I collaborated with the same 
gifted young composer on the music. 

I so enjoyed writing lyrics for my two musicals and 
collaborating with my gifted young composer, that I 
decided, at the completion of my second musical, to try 
my hand at writing lyrics independently of any musical 
play. This creative endeavor I started in 2012, and sent 
each lyric to my composer for his composition. On each 
occasion, I was delighted to hear his voice recording of 
the song. 

While writing lyrics, I found myself also writing poems 
which may or may not be suitable to be set to music. Out 
of curiosity, I searched among my papers to find some 
old poems I had written during various periods of my 
life, some in Hebrew (my mother tongue) and some in 
English. After studying my old poems, I translated and/ 
or rewrote several of them, leaving some as poems and 
structuring others as lyrics. 

I find it strange that in my old age, after spending my 
life pursuing so many other creative outlets, I ended up 
becoming a poet, as my mother was. During her youth in 
Russia, my mother wrote and publicly recited her poetry 
and had many of her poems published in the press. After 
immigrating to Israel (then called "Palestine") in 1920 
and mastering the Hebrew language, she wrote poetry 
in Hebrew and recited it in public. She also published a 
couple of books of her poetry. Although I was familiar 
with her poetry, it never occurred to me that some day, 
when I reached old age, I would myself so enjoy writing 
poems. 



XIV 



While writing my poems and lyrics, I decided to publish 
these as a collection. To round out the picture, I thought 
it would be good to include in the book some of the lyrics 
I wrote for my two musicals as well as some of my more 
"poetic" short stories, which were originally intended as 
children's stories. 

The idea of collaborating on this book with my daughter, 
Dr. Laura Liberman, came to us during one of our 
many phone conversations in which I read my newly- 
written poems and lyrics to Laura and she responded 
to them with great insight. Although Laura is a medical 
doctor who has spent many years caring for patients, 
writing medical papers, and writing and editing medical 
books, she has a passion for literature and music. 
She was always a gifted writer. From her childhood 
through college and medical school, she wrote poems 
and stories. More recently, she wrote a memoir about 
her experience as a cancer doctor surviving cancer (I 
SIGNED AS THE DOCTOR, 2009). We thought it would 
enhance the quality of the book if we could not only 
include some of her writings, but also have her serve as 
the editor. 



XV 



INTRODUCTION 

Laura Liberman, M.D. 

My mother, Judith Weinshall Liberman, is a force. 

After graduating with highest honors from college and 
first in her class from law school, my mother decided to 
pursue her artistic passion, and dedicated much of the 
next several decades to creating visual art. In recent 
years, she developed macular degeneration which 
impaired her vision. In response to this life challenge, 
my mother did not bemoan her fate. Instead, in her 80s, 
she transformed herself into a playwright, a poet, and a 
lyricist. The beautiful caterpillar became a butterfly. 

In the fall of 2011, after surviving cancer treatment 
several years previously, I developed a severe eye 
condition which substantially impaired my vision. I turned 
to my mother during this time, and she showed me the 
light. Not only did she give me practical suggestions 
for dealing with visual impairment, she taught me life 
lessons about resilience, about finding silver linings, and 
about what matters most. And we laughed a lot. 

It has been a joy to watch the playwright/poet/lyricist 
emerge from the chrysalis that was my mother. Since 
her childhood in Israel, my mother had always enjoyed 
writing, but it was only within the last few years that she 
has dedicated herself primarily to this form of creative 



XVII 



expression. We took an on-line playwriting class 
together at Gotham Writers' Workshop, which allowed 
me to experience first-hand what my father had told me 
for years about being her classmate: my mother is the 
best student, ever. My father/Judith's husband, Professor 
Robert Liberman, loved books and wrote wonderful 
short stories. In every word we write, he lives. 

I've had the pleasure of reading my mother's 
manuscripts and of seeing her plays produced. In the 
spring of 2012, we traveled to Haverstraw Village, New 
York, and saw her play, VINCENTS VISIT, directed by 
Samuel Harps, produced as part of a festival celebrating 
women playwrights. How appropriate, I thought, 
because there is no better cause for celebration than 
my mother. In the weeks surrounding the festival, during 
our many phone conversations when she read me her 
beautiful poems, we conceived the idea of publishing a 
collection of poems, lyrics, and stories as a book, and 
REFLECTIONS was born. Most of the works in the book 
are written by my mother; I was delighted to contribute 
some of my own writings and to serve as the book's 
editor. 

REFLECTIONS is organized into two parts, with the first 
part including poems and lyrics and the second part 
including some of our more "poetic" stories. We have 
organized the poems and lyrics into broad categories: 
love, sonnets of nature, student days, Israel diary 
(reflecting my mother's childhood in Israel and her 
abiding attachment to her native land), looking back, 
death, human foibles, musings, enchantment, and art. 
Within each category, the works are grouped somewhat 
chronologically, and in a manner that tells a story - at 
heart, we are both storytellers. 



XVIII 



A key feature that differentiates a lyric from a poem is 
that a lyric generally has a chorus, a repeated section 
that captures the central message of the work. In 
REFLECTIONS, the choruses of the lyrics are indented, 
so they can be readily identified. 

Our joyful collaboration has allowed me to get to know 
my mother in a new way. As editor, I suggested to my 
mother that I take care of some of the more mundane 
details, such as formatting. Although my mother agreed, 
delegation does not come readily to her (as it doesn't to 
me!). Sometimes she would ask me to do something, 
and then she would do it herself. I gently reminded her 
of a saying a dear friend had told me about delegation: 
"Why get a dog and then bark yourself?" Throughout the 
process, we've both learned to bark less. 

A happy challenge of editing the book is that my mother 
is so prolific that she would send me a new piece 
of writing - a poem or a lyric - almost every day! We 
eventually realized that if she keeps writing new works 
to be included in this book, the book might never be 
finished. We agreed that she should keep on writing 
new works (there is no stopping her) - and that the new 
writings will serve as the basis for our next book. 

My mother's transformation from visual artist to writer 
inspires me. I have a fabulous meditation teacher who 
says, "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to 
surf." Life has many waves, and my mother is surfing 
with the best of them. She is my role model and my 
muse. She is my mother. 



XIX 



REFLECTIONS means many things. In this book, we 
reflect on our lives and the people we have known. 
The picture on the cover is a reproduction of one of my 
favorite photographs of my mother and father - and they 
see themselves through their reflections in each other's 
eyes. And in collaborating with my mother, I see her and 
I see me, and I see the parts of me that are reflections of 
who she is and who she has helped me to become. 

I love you, Mom. 



XX 



HISTORY OF THE WORKS 

A POEM A DAY: 2012 

ACCOMPLISHMENT: 2012 

ARTISTS DON'T DIE: from TO BE AN ARTIST, musical, 
2011 (with permission) 

AT THE WEDDING: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, early 
1990s) 

BEING DEVOUT: 2012 

BEING GOOD: 2012 

BENEATH THE SAND: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

BETRAYAL: 2012 

CAMOUFLAGE: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

CANINE CUISINE: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

CHAIN: 2012 

COLOR IN OUR WORLD: from TO BE AN ARTIST, 
musical, 2011 (with permission) 

xxi 



DEAR ANNE-MARIE: 2012 

DEAR STUDENT: rewritten 2012 (original: University of 
Michigan Law School, 1956); inspired by the poem "IF" 
by Rudyard Kipling 

DIAMOND RING: 2012 

DO NOT SEND ME: rewritten 2012 (original in Hebrew; 
Israel, early 1990s) 

DRIVING: 2012 

DYING YOUNG: from TO BE AN ARTIST, musical, 2011 
(with permission) 

EASILY SHAKEN: from TO BE AN ARTIST musical, 
2011 (with permission) 

ENDLESS WAR: written on Memorial Day, 2012 

FAITH: from GOOD OLD ABRAHAM, musical, 2011 
(with permission) 

FISHING: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

FLOWERS: from TO BE AN ARTIST, musical, 2011 (with 
permission) 

FLY AWAY: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

FOR FEAR: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, early 1990s) 

GOOD HEALTH: 2012 



XXI 



HEAVEN: 2012 

HER LETTER: 2012 

HER SUICIDE: 2012 

HOUSE TO LET: written by JWL while she was pursuing 
her LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree at the University of 
Michigan Law School, 1956 

HOW ARE YOU?: 2012 

HOWLING WIND: 2012 

I CAUGHT A TOAD THIS MORNING: from Sonnets of 
Nature, 1975 

I DON'T LIKE FALLING LEAVES: from Sonnets of 
Nature, 1975 

I MADE A LITTLE ANGEL: from Sonnets of Nature, 
1975 

I PULLED MY BACK IN ST. CEZAIRE: written by LL in 
France, 2011 

I WOKE UP: 2012 

ICE CREAM SNOW: 2012 (based on a children's story 
written by JWL in 1996) 

ICE CREAM SNOW (story): a children's story written in 
1996 (with permission) 



XXIII 



IF I KNEW: 2012 

IF WE COULD SOAR: 2012 

IF YOU REMEMBER ME: 2012 

IN A STORMY LAND: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

IN HAIFA BAY: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, early 
1990s) 

IN THE MILITARY CEMETERY: rewritten 2012 (original: 
Israel, early 1990s) 

IN THE NAME OF GOD: 2012 

IN THE WOODS: 2012 

KEEPING ON: 2012 

KNOWLEDGE: 2012 

LEGALLY BLIND: 2012 

LET GO!: 2012 

LETTER TO MY FATHER: 2012 

LETTER TO MY HUSBAND: 2012 

LETTER TO MY MOTHER: 2012 

LIAR: 2012 



XXIV 



LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER: from TO BEAN 
ARTIST, musical, 2011 (with permission) 

LION AND THE LAMB: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

LOVE IS LOVE: 2012 

MAN AND WOMAN: from TO BE AN ARTIST, musical, 
2011 (with permission) 

MEMORY: 2012 

MINDFULLY IN PARIS: 2012, dedicated to Sharon 
Youcha and Joyce Reiss. The italicized terms are the 
seven attitudes of mindfulness described by Jon Kabat- 
Zinn: patience, trust, acceptance, Beginner's Mind, non- 
judging, non-attachment, and non-striving. 

MOM, I MISS YOU: from GOOD OLD ABRAHAM, 
musical, 2011 (with permission) 

MY BROTHER, SAUL: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

MY DARKEST SECRET: 2012 

MY HOME: 2012 

MY NANNY: 2012 

MY PRINCE: 2012 

MY REGRETS: 2012 



XXV 



NOT FOR ME: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, early 
1990s) 

ODE TO A NEUTROPHIL: written by LL in medical 
school, 1981; published in Laura Liberman's memoir, 
/ SIGNED AS THE DOCTOR, BookLocker.com, 2009 
(with permission) 

ON ART: 2012 

ON BEING A GRANDMA: 2012 

ON BEING A PARENT: 2012 

ON CAVES: 2012 

ON COLLABORATION: 2012 

ON COMPASSION: 2012 

ON ENVY: 2012 

ON FRIENDSHIP: 2012 

ON KINDNESS: 2012 

ON LIFE'S PAIN: 2012 

ON LONGING: 2012 

ON MATING: 2012 

ON NINE-ELEVEN: from GOOD OLD ABRAHAM, 
musical, 2011 (with permission) 



XXVI 



ON SHOWERS: 2012 

ON THE BEACH: 2012 

ON THE ROAD: rewritten 2012 (original in Hebrew: 
Israel, early 1990s) 

PET PROJECT: 2012 

PHI BETA KAPPA: written by LL in college, 1980 

PINK ROSES: rewritten 2012 (original in Hebrew: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

PLATO AND ME: written by LL in 1976 (freshman year 
in college) 

POLITICAL PRISONER: 2012; inspired by the 1947 
detention of JWLs father, Dr. Abraham Weinshall, with 
other leaders of the Jewish community of Palestine, at 
the Latrun camp (near Jerusalem) during the final period 
of the British Mandate 

PUPPY LOVE: 2012 

QUEEN FOR A DAY: 2012. Dedicated by JWL to the 
memory of her ancestor Saul Wahl, who (according to 
legend) was King of Poland for a day back in 1587 

RED, GRAY AND BLACK: from TO BE AN ARTIST, 
musical, 2011 (with permission) 

REUNION: 2012 

RIVAL: 2012 



XXVII 



SEEING RED: 2012 

SHOP AND SHOP: 2012 

SNOW IS WHITE: written by LL in first grade, 1966 

SO DISTANT: rewritten 2012 (original in Hebrew: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

SO MANY ROADS: 2012 

SODOM: from GOOD OLD ABRAHAM, musical, 2011 
(with permission) 

SONNETS OF NATURE: a collection of sonnets (each 
of which is included in this book) written by LL in high 
school, 1975 

SOUL MATE: from TO BE AN ARTIST, musical, 2011 
(with permission) 

STOOD UP: 2012 

TAKE CARE, MY DARLING: from TO BE AN ARTIST, 
musical, 2011 (with permission) 

THE BEST THING ABOUT LIFE: 2012 

THE BIRD PERCHED ON THE WINDOWSILL, from 
Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE BIRD'S LAST SONG: a children's story published 
by Addison-Wesley, 1976 (with permission) 



XXVIII 



THE BLANKET: 2012 (based on a story written by JWL 
in college, 1949) 

THE BUTTERFLY: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE CAT CURLED UP: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE CHERRY TREE: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE CRABAPPLE TREE: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE ELEPHANTS: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE FIELDS OF TAMRA: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

THE FINGER OF GOD: rewritten 2012 (original in 
Hebrew: Israel, early 1990s) 

THE FLOWERS: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE LETTER THAT YOU DID NOT WRITE: rewritten 
2012 (original: Israel, early 1990s) 

THE LITTLE FAIRY: a children's story written in the early 
1980s 

THE MAGIC FLOWER: rewritten 2012 (original: Israel, 
early 1990s) 

THE MOTHER BIRD TEACHES HER YOUNG: from 
Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE MOUSE TRAP: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 



XXIX 



THE PIGEONS: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE RABBITS: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE ROSES: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE SEASHELL: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE SQUIRRELS: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE TREEHOUSE: from Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

THE TUNNEL: 2012 

THE VERY OLD PAINTER: a children's story written in 
the 1990s 

THE WAY HE WAS: 2012 

THE WORLD'S DEAREST MATE: 2012 

THOUGHTS AT NIGHT: 2012 

THOUGHTS AT SUNRISE: 2012 

THREE HUES: 2012 

TORN BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES: 2012 

TWELVE NOTES: 2012 

TWENTY-SIX LETTERS: 2012 

VANITY: 2012 



XXX 



WERE YOU A HONEYBEE AND I A ROSE: from 
Sonnets of Nature, 1975; revised 2012 

WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND: 2012 

WHAT I WISH FOR IN LIFE: 2012 

WHAT IS AN ARTIST?: from TO BE AN ARTIST, 
musical, 2011 (with permission) 

WHAT IS THE FORCE?: 2012 

WHAT IS THE STAR?: 2012 

WHEN WE MET: 2012 

WHY DO CHICKENS CROSS THE STREET?: from 
Sonnets of Nature, 1975 

WHY DO DOGS CHASE CARS?: from Sonnets of 
Nature, 1975 

WRITER'S BLOCK: 2012 

YOUR CALL: 2012 



XXXI 



PART I: 

POEMS AND LYRICS 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 



me 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 3 



LOVE IS LOVE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What is love? 
What is love? 
What is love? 
What is love? 

"What kinds of love 
Are there?" I asked 
When I was 
Just a child. 

"True love," my mama 
Answered me, 
"Is all the same," 
And smiled. 

"But if I love 
My puppy, Mom, 
And then I love 
You, too, 

Is that the same 
Real love I have 
For both my pup 
And you?" 

"Love is the same," 
My mama said, 
"No matter whom 
You love: 



4 — REFLECTIONS 



A parent, sibling, 

Or a pet, 

A friend, 

Or God above." 

"What makes all love 
The same, dear Mom, 
No matter whom 
I love?" 

I asked my mother 
And went on, 
"What are you 
Thinking of?" 

My mama paused 
A moment, then 
Spoke words 
In her own style, 

Words I've always 
Kept in mind, 
Although it's been 
Awhile. 

"Love is what 
You're parting with 
And never 
Feel a lack. 

Love is a gift 
You give away 
And ask 
For nothing back." 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 5 



Love is love. 
Love is love. 
Love is love. 
Love is love! 



6 — REFLECTIONS 



HEAVEN 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



"Is there a Heaven 

In the sky?" 

I asked my dad one day. 

I was then just 

A little girl 

And heard some people pray. 

I saw them looking 

Up above, 

Not really all around. 

It seemed that they 

Ignored all else 

Since Heaven they had found 

"I don't know where 

A Heaven is," 

My dad replied to me. 

"No one I know 
Came back to tell 
He's found eternity." 

"So why do people 

Pray to God?" 

I asked my father then. 

"They think that if 
They pray," Dad said, 
"In Heaven they will end." 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 7 



"So why don't you 
Join in the prayer?" 
I wanted Dad to say. 

If there's a Heaven 

I'd wish some day 

That there my dad would stay. 

"I live my life," 

My dad replied, 

"Not seeking an award. 

To me just being 
Good and kind 
Provides its own reward." 



8 — REFLECTIONS 



MY PRINCE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



A prince! 
A prince! 
A prince! 
A prince! 

When I was young 
And watched my dad 
Smiling at 
My mom, 
And praising her, 
Supporting her, 
And always 
Kind and calm, 

And helping her 
With chores and more 
Around the house 
And out, 
And taking care 
Of all of us 
And never 
Even pout, 

I knew my dad 
Was a true prince 
And that some day 
I will 

Look for a prince 
To call my own 
Who would my 
Dreams fulfill. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 9 



"Where will I find 
A prince?" I asked 
My mother 
One cold eve. 
"Or did you get 
The last true prince 
And none for me 
Then leave?" 

My mother smiled 
At me and said, 
"Of course there's 
Still a prince. 
You'll just have 
To search for one. 
You'll find him, 
I'm convinced." 

"But where would I 
Be looking for 
A prince who's all 
My own?" 
My mom replied, 
"Don't worry, dear. 
He will make 
Himself known." 



10 — REFLECTIONS 



"How will I know 

He is a prince 

And not just 

Any guy?" 

I asked my mom, 

Who thought it through, 

And finally 

Did reply, 

"A palace 
Does not 
Make a prince, 
Unlike in fairytales. 
It's not great power, 
Or even fame, 
Or riches 
This entails. 

A prince will always 
Be your friend. 
He'll praise 
And support you. 
He'll be calm 
And always kind 
He'll help you to 
Get through 

Each day no matter 
What life brings, 
Whether great joy 
Or deep pain. 
A prince will 
Always nurture you, 
And your 
Spirit sustain. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 11 



What makes a prince 
Is what's inside 
His very heart 
And soul. 
Look for a man 
Who'll always make 
Your happiness 
His goal." 

My prince! 
My prince! 
My prince! 
My prince! 



12 — REFLECTIONS 



MAN AND WOMAN 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When God fashioned Eve, 
Good old Adam was there, 

For it says in the Bible, 
Adam's rib was where 

Eve's form first appeared 
In the Great Sculptor's mind, 

And woman was formed 
So God could bind 

Man and woman together, 
Forever through time, 

And make their union 
Truly sublime. 

Which means man and woman 
Cannot live apart. 

They were one flesh, one spirit 
Right from the start. 

It follows that woman 
Cannot alone be. 

She needs man beside her 
To render her free 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 13 



Of daily concerns, 
Deep fears and distress, 

And all of life's dangers 
That on her might press. 

Which means man and woman 
Cannot live apart. 

They were one flesh, one spirit 
Right from the start. 



14 — REFLECTIONS 



DO NOT SEND ME 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Do not send me 
To far off places, 
To fields 
Where I roamed 
But left no traces. 

Do not send me 
To faraway lands, 
Now that I found 
My peace 
In your hands. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 15 



TAKE CARE, MY DARLING 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Take care, my darling. 
Take care of yourself, 
Of your soul 
That I've known 
So well, 
So well. 

Take care of your spirit, 
Always so restless. 
Make sure 
It can find 
Some peace, 
Some peace. 

Take care of your heart, 

So full of love. 

Don't let 

People hurt it. 

Beware! 

Beware! 

Take care of your longing 

For joy 

And contentment. 

Don't let your longing 

Be crushed, 

Be crushed. 



16 — REFLECTIONS 



Take care, my darling, 
Take care of yourself, 
Of your soul 
That I love 
So well, 
So well. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 17 



WHEN WE MET 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I remember we met 
On that day long ago 
In a far away city 
All covered with snow, 

In the room of a friend 
Who asked us to come 
So you and I could meet 
'Cause he was my chum 

And your chum, too, 

And he sensed we would mate 

If only he set up 

A simple blind date. 

How great that someone 
Knew you and I 
Were meant for each other 
Without knowing why. 

The look on your face 
Convinced me right then 
You were honest and true, 
A prince among men. 

The warmth in your eyes 
Told me right away 
That you would be kind 
Each passing day. 



18 — REFLECTIONS 



The smile on your lips 
Was a sign that was clear 
That you would face 
Any truth without fear. 

How great that someone 
Knew you and I 
Were meant for each other 
Without knowing why. 

And all through the years 
You proved I was right 
On that brief blind date 
When I judged you on sight, 

When I first saw your face, 
And looked in your eyes, 
And was swept by your smile, 
And sensed you were a prize. 

And now that you're gone 
I can still see your face 
And remember the years 
I was blessed with your grace. 

I reflect on that day 
When we met long ago 
In a faraway city 
All covered with snow. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 19 



THE WAY HE WAS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

My man was not a wealthy one. 

His health was poor when day was done. 

But we were rich in all that mattered, 
Until his death, which my heart shattered. 

When we met 
So long ago, 
I never dreamed 
He'd love me so. 
I never knew 
There was such love 
On this great earth 
Or up above. 

My man was very kind and bright, 
And we would talk quite late at night 

Of things that happened, or would be 
Confronting us, both him and me. 

He always listened when I spoke. 
My fears to him were not a joke. 

He answered softly, wisely, too, 
All my concerns. I had no clue 

When we married long ago 

That he would always prop me so. 



20 — REFLECTIONS 



When I had doubts, he held my hand, 
Would comfort me so I could stand 

To face the challenges in store 
With greater courage than before. 

When we met 
So long ago, 
I never dreamed 
He'd love me so. 
I never knew 
There was such love 
On this great earth 
Or up above. 

He loved with all his heart and soul. 
Making me happy was the goal 

He cherished more than any role 
That this life to a mate does dole. 

He was helpful in small chores 
That life demands but that are bores, 

Like setting tables, cleaning, too, 

All those dishes when meals were through. 

Mornings he for me would squeeze 
A glass of juice and then me please 

With a love note placed atop 
The golden glass, and never stop. 

There was much more than this to him. 
Only the surface I can skim. 

Poems and Lyrics: Love — 21 



But this I know above all things: 

He brought what only true love brings. 

When we met 
So long ago, 
I never dreamed 
He'd love me so. 
I never knew 
There was such love 
On this great earth 
Or up above. 



22 — REFLECTIONS 



THE WORLD'S DEAREST MATE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

What was it about him 
That made him so great? 
Why should he be deemed 
The world's dearest mate? 

The best thing about him 
Was not some great wealth, 
Or a body reflecting 
A state of fine health. 

The best thing about him 
Was not his passion, 
Expressed through the years 
In many a fashion. 

The best thing about him 
Was not his sharp mind, 
Although he was smarter 
Than most of mankind. 

The best thing about him 
Was not his repute, 
Although his good name 
No one could refute. 

The best thing about him 
Was not his deep calm 
In the midst of the storms 
That life hurled without qualm. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 23 



The best thing about him 
Was not his belief 
That together we'd conquer 
All pain and all grief. 

What was it about him 
That made him so great? 
Why should he be deemed 
The world's dearest mate? 

The best thing was he 
Let me be simply me, 
Let me laugh and then cry, 
And always feel free 

To think my own thoughts 
And feel as I felt, 
And express myself 
About what life dealt. 

So now that he's gone 
And I look back upon 
Our life together 
Since our years' early dawn, 

I remember about him 
Most kindly of all, 
That he was he, I was I, 
And we both stood tall. 



24 — REFLECTIONS 



LETTER TO MY HUSBAND 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I have often wondered 

Since I lost you, my dear, 

What you'd feel, 

And think 

With your mind always clear, 

Of what's happened not only 

To those left behind, 

But to our country, 

The world 

And all humankind. 

I wish that I could, 
Even just for an instant, 
Have you here, 
Right with me, 
And not, oh, so distant, 

'Cause you always were 
So rational, and yet 
Let your heart 
Temper mind 
In the standards you set. 

But since you are far, 
I can only pretend 
I am asking 
You questions 
About what's at hand. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 25 



So I just close my eyes, 

Make believe you are here, 

Then whisper 

My queries 

In your make-believe ear. 

And somehow, although 

You are so far away, 

I can hear 

Your clear voice 

And I know what you'd say. 



26 — REFLECTIONS 



SOUL MATE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Let me tell you 
What I've known 
As an old widow 
Left alone. 

When you are old 
And your mate's gone, 
The saddest part, 
When you're alone, 

Is not that you 
Cannot now speak 
To your dear mate 
When life is bleak, 

But rather that 
Your silence now 
No one can hear, 
No one knows how. 

Your soul mate's gone, 
And he alone 
Could hear your silence, 
And would have known. 

I've lived way past 
My golden years. 
My heart is filled 
With silent tears. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 27 



Now that I'm old 
And my mate's gone, 
The saddest part, 
When I'm alone, 

Is not that I 
Cannot now speak 
To my dear mate 
When life is bleak, 

But rather that 
My silence now 
No one can hear, 
No one knows how. 

My soul mate's gone, 
And he alone 
Could hear my silence, 
And would have known 

Someday I'll join him 
Where we're free, 
And once again 
We'll soul mates be. 

I will be quiet, 
Never speak, 
Though times become 
So very bleak. 

I will stay mum. 
My silence, though, 
My mate will hear, 
And he will know. 



28 — REFLECTIONS 



My soul mate's gone, 
And he alone 
Could hear my silence, 
And would have known. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 29 



THE BEST THING ABOUT LIFE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Sometimes when I'm bluest 
And feel that my life 
Is too full of pain 
And riddled with strife, 

That it isn't worth it 

To keep going on, 

That there's nothing to hope for, 

That there won't be a dawn, 

I remember those things 
That have given me pleasure, 
A flower, a landscape, 
Clouds high beyond measure, 

A sound that is made 
By an old violin, 
The chirping of birds 
At the advent of spring, 

The smell of a broth 
Blending greens from afar, 
The scent of a rose 
That is bright as a star, 

The taste of a melon 
All ripened and sweet, 
An orange whose tartness 
Is such a great treat, 



30 — REFLECTIONS 



The softness of silk 
In a garment so fine, 
The feel of a child's hand 
When it touches mine. 

But the best thing of all 
Is not something I see 
Or I hear, smell, or taste, 
Or I touch with great glee. 

The best thing in life 
Is the way that I feel 
When I love another 
And am loved back for real. 

I then conquer pain 
And all sadness and fear 
As I give my whole being 
To the one I hold dear. 

What I like best about life 
Is that despite the pain, 
It gives love and so shines 
A bright light through the rain 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 31 



FAITH 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

I used to think 
The world was not 
Created with 
A plan or plot. 

I always felt that 
We are only here 
Through forces that are 
Very queer, 

In that they form 
A maze of chance 
And force us people 
There to dance. 

I never thought 
There is a God 
Who plans and plots 
Until we are awed 
When He bestows, 
On folks so old, 
A child to love 
And have and hold. 

But now I know 
God does exist, 
For otherwise 
I would persist 



32 — REFLECTIONS 



In being old 
And barren, too, 
And having nothing 
More to do 

Than doubt my man 
And his belief 
There is a God 
Who grants relief. 

So now I know 
There is a God 
Who plans and plots 
Until we are awed 
When He bestows, 
On folks so old, 
A child to love 
And have and hold. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 33 



SO DISTANT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Why are you, the close one, 

So distant 

That hours and days 

Are raging 

Between us? 

Why, if I want 
To see your face, 
Do I have to dream, 
And not be blessed 
With your presence? 

Why can't I hear 

Your voice, 

But have to read 

Your words 

On a dead sheet of paper? 

Why can't I reach for 
Your hand 
And breathe in 
The life I would gain 
From your touch? 

Why is it if I call, 
If I scream, 
You will not hear me? 
Why won't you hear 
My crying heart? 



34 — REFLECTIONS 



NOT FOR ME 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



If you want 
To be my lover, 
Please respond to 
What I ask. 

I have questions 
Yet unanswered 
About things 
You seem to mask. 

The tunes you softly hummed: 
Were they for me? 

The songs you sometimes sang: 
Were they for me? 

The tales you liked to tell: 
Were they for me? 

The memories you shared: 
Were they for me? 

The plans you always made: 
Were they for me? 

The hopes that you expressed: 
Were they for me? 

The dreams you always had: 
Were they for me? 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 35 



The warmth and love you gave: 
Were they for me? 

I don't want you 
For a lover. 
Don't respond to 
What I asked, 

'Cause I figured 
Out the answer 
To those things 
You seemed to mask. 

The tunes you softly hummed 
Were not for me. 

The songs you sometimes sang 
Were not for me. 

The tales you liked to tell 
Were not for me. 

The memories you shared 
Were not for me. 

The plans you always made 
Were not for me. 

The hopes that you expressed 
Were not for me. 

The dreams you always had 
Were not for me. 



36 — REFLECTIONS 



The warmth and love you gave 
Were not for me. 

The pain, the pain alone 
Is there for me. 

The pain, the pain alone 
Is there for me. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 37 



FOR FEAR 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



For fear of seeming foolish, 
He did not act. 

For fear of sounding silly, 
He did not speak. 

For fear of being mocked, 
He did not love. 

For fear of loving, 
He did not live. 



38 — REFLECTIONS 



HER LETTER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Her letter to me 
Came out of the blue. 
Of her existence 
I never even knew. 

She asked me if I was 
That girl, long ago, 
Who wrote the love letters 
Found, tied in a bow, 

In a box in the attic 

When her dad passed away, 

After an illness, 

On a recent cold day. 

I was quite moved 
By the young lady's letter. 
It made me think 
Nothing could be better 

Than a daughter searching 
Her own father's past, 
And wishing to know things, 
Though they didn't last. 

In her letter she told me 
Her dear father's name, 
And how she had tracked me 
For I still keep the same 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 39 



Maiden name in the middle 
Of the full name I use. 
She found me through Google, 
Since I've been in the news. 

Although I remembered 
Her dad very clearly - 
My boyfriend in college 
Whom I then loved dearly - 

I never gave a thought 
To the life he might lead 
After we broke up, 
Never thought that, indeed, 

He might find a new girl 
And then get married, 
And have kids, as I did, 
While his life forward carried. 

Now I suddenly wondered, 
Though I didn't before, 
Whether in that very long 
Half century and more, 

My old boyfriend, though married, 
Would untie that bow 
And read those love letters 
Which I wrote long ago. 

She said that she felt 
Uneasy that she 
Was sneaking behind 
Her mom's back, writing me, 



40 — REFLECTIONS 



But that all she now wanted 
Was to know if it was I 
Who wrote those love letters 
To her dad, who did die. 

I confirmed that I was, 
And though I wished I could 
Meet the young lady, 
Who was part of his brood, 

I never again heard from 
My old boyfriend's daughter. 
She came, and then vanished, 
Like a bright drop of water. 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 41 



THE LETTER THAT YOU DID NOT WRITE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

The letter that you did not write 
Did not arrive today. 
I could not read nor understand 
The words you did not say. 

I can remember other days, 
Your letters then did tell 
Of memories of times we shared 
Before we said farewell. 

Your letters and some poems, too, 
That showed me that we had, 
In two short weeks, traversed the miles, 
The years, the lives we led. 

The letter that you did not write 
Did not arrive today. 
I could not read nor understand 
The words you did not say. 

So now I wonder if indeed 
You share that world with me, 
The bright world we together wrought 
From dark eternity. 

For in a letter not received 
I can still read a sign 
That this enchanted universe 
Is not yours, only mine. 



42 — REFLECTIONS 



The letter that you did not write 
Did not arrive today. 
How shall I read or understand 
The things you did not say? 



Poems and Lyrics: Love — 43 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 

SONNCIS Of NWUZe 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 45 



I DON'T LIKE FALLING LEAVES 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

I don't like falling leaves. I wonder why. 
I should enjoy them when, without a sound, 
The rainbow-colored leaves float to the ground 
And land with all the softness of a sigh. 

I don't like falling leaves, although it seems 
That I should like them when, after they fall, 
Their golden hues melt slowly from them all 
And leave a pile of rainbow-colored dreams. 

Although there's beauty when leaves & earth meet, 
I can't forget that as the sweet leaves left, 
The tree, their gentle mother, stood bereft, 
Her dying rainbow children at her feet. 

I don't like falling leaves and this is why: 
A mother shouldn't watch her children die. 



46 — REFLECTIONS 



THE FLOWERS 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

I wish the flowers didn't have to die. 

When autumn comes, the ground gets cold & hard 

And all the gentle flowers in the yard 

Go back to earth without saying goodbye. 

I wish the flowers didn't have to die. 

Their different colors, strong and bold and bright 

Fade softly in the darkness of the night 

And go away. It makes me want to cry. 

And when the flowers die, I always mourn 

At winter's inhumanity to them. 

But then spring comes, and brings with it the time 

When floral friends who died can be reborn. 

I wish they didn't have to die, but then, 
Without death, they would not be born again. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 47 



THE ROSES 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

I bought some roses just the other day. 

I walked right by a little flower shop 

When something deep inside me made me stop 

And go inside to purchase a bouquet. 

I bought some roses just the other day. 
They were so small and curled up, so petite 
Yet when I smelled them, they all smelled so sweet 
That I hoped they would never go away. 

The day I got them, they were small and curled. 
Each day, they got more open and more red 
Until the day right before they were dead 
When all their rosy glory was unfurled. 

Here is a truth for those who truths must seek: 
Right before death, rose beauty's at its peak. 



48 — REFLECTIONS 



THE CRABAPPLE TREE 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

Our front lawn holds a big crabapple tree. 
In autumn months its buds are so minute; 
Its branches are covered with rotten fruit 
That fall in their small effort to be free. 

Our front lawn holds a big crabapple tree. 
In autumn days, its bark smells fresh and clean 
And its leaves are a grassy shade of green 
(The kind of color that you often see). 

Our front lawn holds a tree, and there's one thing 
I've not yet said, and that's when winter's past 
The tree sprouts soft pink flowers that grow fast 
And blossom for one short week in the spring. 

The tree that is so homely in the fall 
In springtime is the loveliest of all. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 49 



THE CHERRY TREE 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

I heard a bird sing in the cherry tree. 
The green leaves quivered as he sang along; 
The soft, warm wind accompanied his song, 
And all the music was sweet as can be. 

I heard a bird sing in the cherry tree. 

The sun shone through the branches, warm & bright 

And lit the tree up with a golden light 

That hid the little bird I couldn't see. 

And now, although the tree is tired and old 
I keep remembering the bird who sang 
And his voice that oh so sweetly rang 
Throughout the lovely cherry tree of gold. 

I heard a bird sing in the cherry tree, 
And now the tree looks beautiful to me. 



50 — REFLECTIONS 



THE BIRD PERCHED ON THE WINDOWSILL 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

The bird perched on the windowsill to sing. 
He made a pretty picture: blue and white 
With golden sun so glowing and so bright 
Reflecting off the feathers of each wing. 

The bird perched on the windowsill to sing. 
His cage was far behind him in the gloom 
Of the very empty unlit room; 
His cage door, fastened open with some string. 

The bird perched on the windowsill, but then 
A flock of birds landed right on the lawn, 
Stayed there a moment, singing, and were gone 
Leaving the one bird flapping, watching them. 

The bird perched on the windowsill to sing 
But then he changed his mind and said nothing. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 51 



THE MOTHER BIRD TEACHES HER YOUNG 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

The mother bird teaches her young to fly. 
When they are born, they cannot fly at all 
Except for a few feet, and then they fall 
Whenever they get up a little high. 

The mother bird teaches her young to fly. 

She knows which of her teaching plans is best - 

She gently pushes them out of the nest 

Until they're up there, soaring through the sky. 

The mother bird teaches her young, and so 
As soon as she can get them off the ground 
And once they're bored with just flying around 
They flap their wings and then away they go. 

The mother bird teaches her young today 
And by tomorrow, they will fly away. 



52 — REFLECTIONS 



THE SQUIRRELS 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

I think the squirrels are smarter than they seem. 
You may not think so on a summer day 
When they do nothing else but sit and play 
Their lives as simple as a happy dream. 

I think the squirrels are smarter than they seem. 
You may not think so when, on summer nights 
They hold their playful, angry little fights - 
Yet for the squirrels I have a high esteem. 

I think the squirrels are much smarter than me 
For on those summer nights, they plan ahead 
For winter days when everything is dead 
And store nuts in their homes inside a tree. 

I think the squirrels are really very wise: 
They plan ahead for cold days in their lives. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 53 



THE RABBITS 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

I pity the poor rabbits who can't say 

A word. All day I see those rabbits on the ground 

As they softly and lightly hop around 

In their own kind of gentle, wordless play. 

I pity the poor rabbits who can't speak. 
Instead, they sit and stare and, with each gaze, 
They see their own companions through the haze 
Of trying to speak out and not be meek. 

I pity the poor rabbits, for I know 

That if I, like the rabbits, were born mute, 

I could not be like them and follow suit 

To make the best of things as they would go. 

I pity the poor rabbits, because I, 
Without my self-expression, I would die. 



54 — REFLECTIONS 



LION AND THE LAMB 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Flora and Fauna 
Laura Liberman 

The lion only kills when he must eat. 
He is a gentle creature on the whole 
And otherwise he would not harm a soul 
But he hungers and has to have some meat. 

A lamb's a creature gentle, soft, and sweet. 
Her home, with other animals, she shares 
And she also occasionally dares 
To lie, contented, at the lion's feet. 

Unfortunately, men are not the same. 
Their reasons for their killings are not right; 
They're full of hatred, and they always fight. 
Compared to men, the animals are tame 

For it's only the animals who can 
Lie down together, lion and the lamb. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 55 



WERE YOU A HONEYBEE AND I A ROSE 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

Were you a honeybee and I a rose 
I'd open up my petals to embrace 
You as you'd fly to me to get a taste 
Of my nectar before my petals close. 

But you would leave me long before the dawn. 
From my lips to another's you would fly. 
And I'd not have to ask the reason why: 
You'd leave me when my sweet nectar was gone. 

Yet if we turned the tables, and 'twere I 
Who was the honeybee and had the buzz 
I'd stay with you, my darling rose, because 
There's no one else to whom I'd rather fly. 

And oh! I know how happy we would be 
Were you a rose and I a honeybee. 



56 — REFLECTIONS 



THE BUTTERFLY 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

It rained the day the butterfly was born. 
The silver drops fell gently. They would cling 
To his soft and iridescent wings 
And then fall to the ground, sad, forlorn. 

It rained the day the butterfly was born. 
The wind blew the drops gently to erase 
All markings from the multicolored face 
Whose eyes opened before them in the storm. 

I cried the day the butterfly was born. 
For though the rain is beautiful, they say 
A butterfly can live for so few days 
Before returning to earth, soft and warm. 

It rained hard on his birthday, and I cried 
'Cause it would not be long before he died. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 57 



CAMOUFLAGE 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I envy the chipmunk, who, small and brown, 
Runs cheerfully along the summer field 
Unseen because of his color, a shield 
That makes him hard to see when on the ground. 

I envy snowshoe rabbits, for they go 
In wintertime, impossible to sight. 
They change to a soft, beautiful, pure white 
And they play, undetected, in the snow. 

I envy these small creatures, for I've known 
That being viewed and scrutinized by one 
Who's disapproving really is no fun; 
These creatures are judged by themselves alone. 

I envy these small animals. I do - 

I wish that I could be camouflaged too. 



58 — REFLECTIONS 



FLY AWAY 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I wish that I could live just like the birds. 
I don't mean making chirping, angry sounds, 
Or catching little worms inside the ground, 
Or beating wings so fast that they are blurred. 

I wish that I could live just like the birds. 
I don't mean making nests on trees, up high 
With lovely views of mountains, clouds, and sky 
Although that might be fun, from what I've heard. 

I wish that I could live like birds, for then, 
Just like the birds, when days of winter come 
I'd gather up my things, and I'd fly from 
The cold, and I would not be cold again. 

I wish that I could live like birds, for they, 
When days get cold and lonely, fly away. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 59 



THE TREE HOUSE 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I had a tree house in the apple tree. 
When I was six or seven, every day 
I'd go out to the apple tree to play 
And I'd be filled with such a sense of glee. 

I had a tree house in the apple tree. 
It was my castle and my second home. 
It was the one place where I, all alone, 
Could rule supreme as far as I could see. 

It lasted for so short a time, and then 

I somehow saw the place where I was Lord 

Was really nothing but a dirty board. 

My tree house never was the same again. 

I had a tree house in the apple tree 

But I grew up and now it's gone from me. 



60 — REFLECTIONS 



I MADE A LITTLE ANGEL 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I made a little angel in the snow. 
I just lay down and then started to shake 
My arms and legs in all the white snowflakes 
Just moving them so gently to and fro. 

I made a little angel in the snow. 

Beneath my back, the ground felt wet and cold 

While I was trying tenderly to mold 

The glistening white figure I made grow. 

But then the sun dissolved the clouds of gray 
That had grown cold and dark during the storm, 
And shone its sunlight rays, golden and warm, 
Until all of the white snow went away. 

I made an angel in the snow; then sun 
Came out and soon my angel was undone. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 61 



THE PIGEONS 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I bought a bag of peanuts in the park 
I wanted to feed lots of birds today 
And when a flock of pigeons came my way 
My heart felt light and happy as a lark. 

I bought a bag of peanuts, for I'd heard 
That pigeons love to eat them. And they did. 
They nestled up to me, and, as I said, 
I was surrounded by a flock of birds. 

But then the peanuts I had bought were gone. 
The bag was empty; they'd eaten then all. 
And then the flock of birds, both large and small, 
Those pigeons flew off, each and every one. 

I bought some peanuts for the birds today, 
And after eating them, they flew away. 



62 — REFLECTIONS 



FISHING 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I recently went to a lake to fish. 

I took an empty bucket and a rod 

And I thought that the salmon and the cod 

That I could catch would make a lovely dish. 

I recently went to the lake to fish. 

I got to a nice, isolated spot 

Beneath the shade so it wasn't too hot 

And catching some became my dearest wish. 

I recently went to the lake, but then 

Right after I put on my rod a worm 

Who wriggled and began to shake and squirm 

A fish ate him and went away again. 

I wanted to catch fish the other day 

But one just ate my worm and swam away. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 63 



THE SEASHELL 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

The waves carried the seashell to the shore. 
I saw it as soon as it was in sight - 
A little seashell in the blue and white 
Of ocean waves that guarded it no more. 

The waves carried the seashell to the shore. 
So soft and dainty in its hue of lime, 
It had been carried for so long a time 
By all the wonders of the ocean floor. 

The waves carried the seashell out to meet 
Me as I walked along the beach. 
I then put out my hand to try to reach 
The seashell that was lying at my feet. 

The waves carried the seashell out to me, 
And then I threw it back into the sea. 



64 — REFLECTIONS 



I CAUGHT A TOAD THIS MORNING 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I caught a toad this morning in the yard 

Just sitting by the garden on the ground 

He looked cute but so speckled, small, and brown 

That seeing him at all was really hard. 

I caught a toad this morning on the grass. 
Just sitting by the garden near a stump 
He saw me and then he began to jump 
Thinking he could escape if he was fast. 

I caught a toad this morning on the lawn. 
I held him in my hands clasped on my lap 
And after a short while, I put him back. 
He hopped, and in a moment he was gone. 

There's one joy that catching toads brings to me - 
And that's the joy of letting them go free. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 65 



THE CAT CURLED UP 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

The cat curled up beside the fireplace 
His fur shone in the eerie orange light 
Of flames that flickered in the quiet night 
And danced in his green eyes and in his face. 

The cat curled up beside the golden fire. 
He stretched his limbs and then a gentle purr 
Emitted from his lips; his lustrous fur 
Was silky sleek, a coat to be admired. 

The cat curled up next to the fire, and then 
I sat down next to him on the soft rug 
And reached out to give him a little hug. 
He turned to me and softly purred again. 

I held the cat close in my arms to keep 
Him safe, and then we drifted off to sleep. 



66 — REFLECTIONS 



CANINE CUISINE 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

My dog could never leave his food alone. 
I really don't know if it was my fault; 
I tried to use the pepper and the salt 
But he preferred to cook food of his own. 

My dog could never leave his food alone. 
I wanted to do my young chef a favor 
And so I tried hard to improve the flavor 
Of his Chuck Wagon, Alpo, and his bone. 

But I think that dog just liked to create. 
If I cooked for him, it was just a waste 
Because he'd grimace after a mere taste 
And add the monosodium glutamate. 

In all my life, I've never before seen 
Such brilliant knowledge of canine cuisine. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 67 



THE MOUSE TRAP 

From Sonnets of Nature: Of Nature and Me 
Laura Liberman 

I put a mouse trap on the kitchen floor 
Because almost every day for a year 
Our food would somehow strangely disappear 
And I could not afford it anymore. 

I put a mouse trap on the kitchen floor 
Though I really wanted the mouse to seize 
I didn't fill the trap with any cheese 
'Cause cheese was too expensive at the store. 

And then I thought of something really keen. 
I found a picture of cheese in an ad 
And so I got the scissors that I had 
And cut the picture from the magazine. 

He took the picture of cheese from the house 
And left instead a picture of a mouse. 



68 — REFLECTIONS 



THE ELEPHANTS 

From Sonnets of Nature: Why? 
Laura Liberman 



It's elephants I just don't understand. 
I saw one in the zoo inside his cage, 
Just looking very much the wise old sage 
About as much as an elephant can. 

It's elephants I just can't comprehend. 

I saw one in the zoo the other day. 

He ate the peanuts that I threw his way 

And grinned at me as though I were his friend 

And when I thought all was fine in his house. 
He snorted and his eyes were filled with fear. 
I looked inside his cage, and over there, 
I saw a tiny, scampering, white mouse. 

Why is an elephant so big and tall 

So frightened by a mouse that is so small? 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 69 



WHY DO DOGS CHASE CARS? 

From Sonnets of Nature: Why? 
Laura Liberman 



Why do the dogs pursue automobiles? 
Once I saw a puppy with dark fur 
And as he chased a car I saw a blur 
Of arms and legs and shiny silver wheels. 

Why do the dogs pursue automobiles? 
It really doesn't seem to be much fun 
To follow speeding cars, or just to run, 
But need to pursue cars they surely feel. 

Why do the dogs pursue the cars? I know 
That sometimes I just feel a sense of mission 
When I'm faced with a little competition 
And I see that a-racing I must go. 

Perhaps dogs pursue cars so they can face 
The glory, joy, and sheer thrill of the chase. 



70 — REFLECTIONS 



WHY DO CHICKENS CROSS THE STREET? 

From Sonnets of Nature: Why? 
Laura Liberman 



Why does the chicken go across the street? 
He really just belongs inside his farm 
Where he could never come to any harm 
And where his happiness should be complete. 

Why does the chicken go across the street? 
I used to think that chickens were just meant 
To lay eggs, and that they should be content 
To live in barns with chicken feed to eat. 

Why does the chicken cross the road? I know 
You might not think so, but to me it seems 
That, like people, the chickens have some dreams 
They must fulfill - some places they must go. 

Why does the chicken go across the street? 
'Cause, like us, he has challenges to meet. 



Poems and Lyrics: Sonnets of Nature — 71 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 

STUD5A/T DAVi 



Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 73 



DEAR STUDENT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

To pass exams there's no sure way, 
But this much to you I could say: 

If you can sleep the night before exam time, 
And walk in calm and totally relaxed; 

If you can read the questions in their order, 
And by their length and scope you are not vexed; 

If you can see all problems raised by questions, 
And analyze them clearly, one by one; 

If you can spot all factors that have bearing, 
And then their implications do not shun; 

If you can allocate time to each question, 

And not start writing till you've thought things out; 

If you can think fast but write somewhat slower, 
And know at every point what you're about; 

If you can start with questions that are easiest, 
So in answering you won't be bogged down; 

If you then go to the next easiest question, 
So precious time is not frittered around; 

If you can use (and that means write) plain English, 
And various complex terms don't bother you; 



74 — REFLECTIONS 



If you can write so legibly that others, 
Have not the slightest guessing work to do, 

Then maybe you will pass, my son, 
Though flunking you might be more fun. 



Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 75 



PHI BETA KAPPA 

Laura Liberman 

You've worked and you've studied, 
You've sweated and slaved. 
Your colleagues are jealous. 
Professors have raved. 

And now you have made it. 
Henceforth, have no fear - 
You're Phi Beta Kappa 
In your Junior Year. 

Tonight, we will celebrate, 
Eat, and be merry. 
We'll give you nice gifts 
And drink gallons of sherry. 

Tonight, go ahead. 

Have a drink. Drown your sorrow - 

For you must be back 

Inside Hilles tomorrow. 

To the lota Chapter: 
You each are a scholar. 
Your destiny lies not in 
"Ring around the collar." 

And here's to the Alphas 
For curling up with 
A book, not a coed 
From Wellesley or Smith. 



76 — REFLECTIONS 



"So how did you do it?" 
Your friends ask in awe. 
But a list of your courses 
Your pals never saw. 

You took Boats and Bananas, 
Two guts unforeseen. 
You took Nat Sci 110. 
You took Fine Arts 13. 

And more still awaits you! 
You might write a thesis 
On Pope or on Swift, 
On electrophoresis. 

And you may have MCATS 
Or LSATs - 
GMATs, or TOEFLS, 
Or - yes! GREs! 

So don't get too cocky; 
No, don't be a fool, 
Lest you be rejected 
From graduate school. 

Don't have wild parties, 
Get drunk, or be rowdy, 
Or you might not graduate 
Summa Cum Laude. 

We don't mean to scare you. 
You're good, and we know it. 
But, listen, guys, you've come this far, 
So don't blow it. 



Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 77 



Now look. Just supposing that 
Worst comes to worst: 
Say you have senior slump 
(And you won't be the first). 

The harm to your GPA 
Can't be corrected, 
But from Phi Beta Kappa 
You won't be ejected! 

For richer, for poorer, 
For worse and for better, 
You'll keep every Phi Beta 
Kappa Greek letter. 

For now when you leave us, 
Wheree'er you may mingle, 
You'll hear your own Phi Beta 
Kappa keys jingle. 

There's no need to worry. 
Relax. Take a nappa - 
For you're a life member 
Of Phi Beta Kappa. 



Key: Hilles: Radcliffe library; lota chapter, women's Phi 
Beta Kappa chapter; Alpha chapter, men's Phi Beta 
Kappa chapter; "gut," easy class 



78 — REFLECTIONS 



PLATO AND ME 

Laura Liberman 

Midway through the semester, freshman year, 
I found myself dissatisfied and sad. 
I hadn't found my heart's desire here. 

My roommates, frivolous and without care, 

Were confident that everything was fine. 

They never dreamed of leaving Harvard Square. 

But I found questions gnawing at my soul. 
Was this it? Was I leading the good life? 
Had I set for myself a major goal? 

The question grew till it took all my thought. 
I couldn't eat or sleep or go to classes 
I couldn't even study as I ought. 

Then, finally, I (a voracious reader) 
Hit on a book that gave me an idea 
And ran to find my Hum 5 section leader. 

I knew what I would ask of him was great, 
But this was big, important; and I, young, 
And eager to begin, just couldn't wait. 

To Emerson I ran, excited. Through 

The door and up the endless stairs I hurried 

Till I arrived at Office 302. 

I told him of my torment deep inside 

And then explained to him my new-found plan 

In which he'd be my mentor and my guide. 



Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 79 



"Oh, Norton," said I, "I now realize 

How blind I've been for so long not to see 

What has been hidden from my youthful eyes. 

I see now that the place for which I long 
Is not just Harvard, as I once had thought, 
But the Republic's where I must belong!" 

He turned, amazed. "Republic? Do you mean 
You want to join Plato's Republic?" "Yes." 
Such fervor on my part was unforeseen. 

Now I was full of questions. When and where 
Could we find the Republic? And, once found, 
How could we get to be citizens there? 

We talked of these and other things. Then Norton 
Declared that he would take me there himself, 
That in my efforts he would be supporting 

We left in haste. I only took with me 
A teddy bear, a picture of my parents, 
And one copy of Dante's Comedy. 

We started right away, our little group. 

We walked past Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, 

Past Harvard Bookstore, past the Harvard Coop. 

Though our adventures on the way weren't few 
I shan't describe them here, my gentle reader. 
There just is simply too much else to do. 



80 — REFLECTIONS 



I will say, though, that when we did arrive 

I felt so much relief inside my soul 

That I thanked God that we were still alive. 

"We made it!" I said. "Bless you, guide of mine." 
We turned to see WELCOME TO THE REPUBLIC 
Painted in block letters on a sign. 

A guardian approached. "What is your name? 
What do you want?" he asked in angry tones. 
Though I was tired, I burst forth just the same. 

"We've come to join your city, sir!" I cried. 
"Please let us in. I'm Laura, Harvard freshman. 
And this is Norton, section leader, guide." 

The guardian's manner softened. "Yes, my child. 
I'll let you in after I check your suitcase." 
His voice was gentle, and he almost smiled. 

He liked the picture of my Mom and Dad. 
My teddy was fine too. But my Dante - 
My copy of the Comedy - was bad. 

"You can't come in," he stated in a huff. 
"We don't allow such poetry in the Republic. 
You know how Plato felt about that stuff." 

I turned to Norton, my eyes filled with tears. 
I'd not be parted from the Divine Comedy 
Since I could read; nay, not for years and years. 

"Oh, Norton, what shall we do now?" I sobbed. 

I can't live without Dante, but I want 

To live here." I sat down and my heart throbbed. 

Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 81 



The guardian took pity on us then. 

He said, "There's only one thing you can do, 

But it has not been tried by mortal men." 

"What is it? We shall do it," declared Norton. 
And then he and the guardian talked together, 
Each eager to add into the consortin'. 

"You may come in with your book if you can 

Convince our founder, Plato, it's all right." 

I asked, bewildered, "Where will we find the man? 

Did he not die two thousand years ago?" 
"He did," my wise and helpful guide replied, 
"But he's with Virgil and friends in Limbo." 

"You mean - we'll go to hell ourselves?" My voice 
Rose to a frightened squeak. But Norton, calm, 
Replied, "I guess we've got no other choice." 

So we set off alone, my guide and I. 

We first passed through a dark and scary wood 

And then we could no longer see the sky. 

"Look, Norton! There's a leopard and a lion! 

And that - why, that's the she-wolf of incontinence! 

Can you see?" I asked him. He said, "I'm tryin'." 

"Come on!" I said, excited. "We are near!" 
And then with my own eyes, I read the words 
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE. 



82 — REFLECTIONS 



Great wails of terror filled my whole sensation. 
Such shrieks of anguish I'd heard only once 
Before: that was at Harvard registration. 

We passed the place of souls unclassified - 
The ones John Ciardi calls 'the opportunists' - 
Not good or bad, just out for their own hide. 

Then, suddenly, out from the black of night 
To which we had descended, I discerned 
The faintest trace of flickering of light. 

There were no tortured souls to greet our eyes. 
We heard no wails or moans but only whispers - 
The gentle whispers of unending sighs. 

"This, then, is Limbo," Norton said to me. 
I looked around to spot the many souls 
I'd read about in Dante's Comedy. 

One soul, eager to help, quickly came forth. 

"What is it you desire?" He asked of me. 

I said, "Who were you when you were on earth?" 

"Oh, I was Virgil," that sweet soul replied. 

My eyes grew wide with joy and I embraced him. 

"I've finally met up with Dante's guide!" 

"What do you know of Dante? He's alive?" 
Virgil inquired, trembling with joy. 
"Oh, no, we read about him in Hum 5." 

"What happened to him after Purgatory?" 
He asked. (He hadn't read the Paradiso.) 
I left Norton to tell him that whole story 

Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 83 



And went myself to find, in this great public 
The man with whom my fate would largely rest ■ 
That's Plato, founder of his own Republic. 

I found him quickly, with the greatest ease. 
He sat upon a throne in a green meadow 
Raptly listening to Socrates. 

Their conversation over, Plato turned 

Back to his books and writing, going over 

In his own mind what he just then had learned. 

I dared not interrupt, so I just sat 
Unnoticed, at his feet, until he saw me - 
And it was he who started up our chat. 

"Did you want something, child?" Plato inquired 
I threw myself into an explanation 
Of what it was of him that I desired. 

"Dear Plato, I have come a long, long way 
To find you, that I may have your answer 
Of whether the Republic's where I'll stay. 

Let me explain. My wish is simple, true. 
I want to live in the Republic now. 
My fate is going to be left up to you. 

A guard said he won't let me in the city 

If I bring with me Dante's Comedy. 

I beg you, Plato, sir, to please have pity! 



84 — REFLECTIONS 



I know that, in Books II and III and X 

Of the Republic, you put some restrictions 

On poetry to be allowed. But then 

You hadn't read this one great poem of mine. 
I beg you, sir, to let me take it with me - 
This poem is Dante's Comedy Divinel" 

He looked up from my strong impassioned plea, 
And, meditating on it, said, "I'll read it. 
I'll read it and we'll talk and then we'll see." 

I handed him the copy of my own 

And then thought that, to give him peace and quiet, 

I'd go away and leave him quite alone. 

I strolled around the meadow and the grounds 
Just watching all the people talking, learning, 
Just seeing them as they all walked around. 

They all stood, heads held high, and spines erect 
With gentleness they spoke to one another, 
With gentleness and with utmost respect. 

But for all I could do, my brains were racking 
To find the reason that I felt no warmth; 
I couldn't see what was it I felt lacking. 

For Limbo, with the virtuous pagans, seemed 

In its own way, a lot like the Republic - 

And wasn't that the home of which I dreamed? 

I couldn't understand the voice inside 
Me that said, "This isn't you." 
I just knew that I felt dissatisfied. 

Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 85 



"Now's not the time for feeling such a doubt," 
I told myself and tried to shake it off. 
"I'll have time soon to figure it all out." 

So saying, I pushed it out of my mind 
And ran back to the Master to discuss 
My fate with all the rest of humankind. 

He'd finished all the reading I had brought 
And when I came to him, he looked up, dreamy, 
As though for hours he had been lost in thought. 

"Come, Plato," I said softly. "Tell me how 
You can object to letting this poem in 
To the Republic. You must tell me now." 

"To start at the top is what we must do," 
Said Plato gruffly. "And my first objections 
Are as I described them in Book II." 

"Let us review, then, as we see the need, 

All that you object to in a poem, 

And see if Dante fills that. Yes?" "Agreed." 

"Shall I begin?" I asked, a little awed 

Of the great man before me. "By all means." 

"OK," I said. "You first talk about God. 

You, Plato, would impose censorship for 
False stories of the gods acting together - 
Like stories of two of the gods at war. 



86 — REFLECTIONS 



But clearly, we see nothing Dante's done 
Has violated this, for in the Comedy 
There is only one God, and God is One." 

"You're right, Dante has done just as he should." 
Encouraged, I went on. "Your next objection 
Is that God can be just a source of good. 

He never, as some poets say, could be 
A cause of harm or evil. But that Dante 
Depicts Him as you want is plain to see. 

Does Virgil not pronounce His judgment great? 
Isn't it clear that each man, to his merits, 
Is granted his own just and honest fate?" 

The torture in Hell, all the pain and strife, 
Is nothing more than a continuation 
Of how the man had lived before in life. 

Thus God is just, not evil." And I guessed 
That on this, too, the master had agreed. 
He begged me to go on. I acquiesced. 

"Your third objection was to those who say 
That God has very many changing forms - 
That he alters himself from day to day. 

You said since God is perfect, why then should 
He change to any other form which must, 
By logical deduction, be less good? 

In saying this, of course, you do assume 
That there is only one state of perfection, 
Not more than one. This I do not presume, 



Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 87 



But who cares what finds favor in my eyes? 
The thing is, Dante did agree with you. 
In fact, this very point he'd emphasize. 

In Purgatorio, our Dante sees 

That God does not change. Canto 28: 

The Highest Good, which only itself can please.' 

God as the 'unmoved mover,' the Divine Love, 
Is stressed that way throughout the Comedy, 
Even when Dante gets to Heaven above. 

My arguments thus far agree with you?" 
I asked the master, praying for his answer. 
"Yes, you've met all the problems in Book II." 

"Let us go on, then, to Book III, dear sir. 

I fear that this is not an easy task, 

But may we now go on?" "Yes. I concur." 

"There is a problem we meet up with here. 
In Book III, you speak of the fear of death - 
And of how poetry adds to that fear. 

In order that the guardians won't see fit 

To fear death, you declare that you would censor 

Talk of 'people of the infernal pit.' 

Clearly in the Inferno, what you stated 
As to be censored is uncensored. Here, 
For the first time, your wish is violated. 



88 — REFLECTIONS 



But Plato, think not of the rule alone 

But of the reasons for it. Do you think 

That fear of death is caused by Dante's poem? 

I think not, sir. To lead a better life 

Is what the guard will try after he reads it - 

For as he lives will be his afterlife. 

It's not a fear of death that Dante gives: 

It's knowledge that each man can choose his fate - 

His death is just the same as what he lives." 

The master acquiesced. "You're very right." 
"Thank you. Need we discuss that lamentations 
And overindulgences of appetite 

Are not condoned by Dante?" "We need not. 
Let us go on then to the most important 
And the most keen objection that I've got." 

"I guess you mean what you said in Book X," 
I murmured. "Well, why don't you speak it, Plato? 
Tell me about it and we'll fix it then." 

"Dear child," Plato said, "you overlook 
The major reason I object to poems. 
You didn't pay attention to my book. 

You meet all trivialities with a flair 

But with the next objection, all the others 

Will dwindle beside it beyond compare. 

There aren't false stories of God, very well. 
He is a source of good. He is unchanging. 
It's all right, too, that Dante talks of Hell. 

Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 89 



But can't you see it's out of your control 
To plead a poet's case? For even Dante 
Appeals to the emotions of the soul 

Rather than to its reason. Even you 

Cannot deny this." His voice shook with rage. 

His attitude implied our talk was through. 

I felt so numb at his determined speech 
That for awhile I couldn't speak at all. 
I felt this angry man was out of reach. 

I realized that Plato wasn't teasin'. 

The one thing that the man could not accept 

Was that there was a limit to man's reason. 

The point that Plato wanted most to miss 
Was that not Virgil led the soul to Heaven - 
But rather Divine Love, or Beatrice. 

"But, Plato," I, bewildered, said, "you banned 
This poetry because Love dominates? 
If that's the case, I just don't understand. 

In your Symposium, did you not write 
That it is Love that leads a man to Beauty? 
That it is Love that makes you see the light? 

So it's our souls' emotions that make us 
Go up to contemplate the highest good?" 
"I spoke of Eros, not of Caritas," 



90 — REFLECTIONS 



The master barked. He seemed to be upset. 
But why in Plato's journey reason rules 
More than in Dante's poem I couldn't get. 

For don't Plato and Dante both admit 
That there's a higher good outside of us 
And that it's Love that leads us all to it? 

I sat down for awhile to contemplate 
This similarity. Between the two 
I tried my best to differentiate. 

And then part of the answer dawned on me. 
What Plato says is that we go from love 
Of women to love of philosophy. 

Dante, however, says that there's a third 
And still a kind of higher love than these 
And that is love of One God (in a word). 

You might just say that, what for Plato, Love 
Of Beauty, of the Form, is just for Dante 
The same thing as the love of God above. 

The difference, though, the truth for which I grope, 

Is: love's returned for Dante, NOT for Plato. 

God loves us back, and that's what gives us hope. 

And that's what makes Limbo so sad. No fire 
Of hell is there, but as sweet Virgil said, 
'Without a hope they live on in desire.' 

But still isn't there some great contradiction 
When Plato says that reason rules the soul 
In the Republic? Isn't that a fiction? 

Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 91 



For isn't Love the one great ruling force 
In Plato's journal too, although his love 
Is love of wisdom, not of God? Of course. 

So is the master really justified 
In saying that emotions do not rule 
In the Republic? I had to decide. 

The answer I arrived at was, he is. 
That love is all-engulfing, Plato states, 
Can never be one of the views of his. 

Although it may be that he contemplates 
The Highest Good by virtue of his love, 
It is a love that reason dominates. 

The love described by Dante isn't thus. 
The love of God alone can rule our soul 
If Paradise is open unto us. 

All this ran through my mind in minutes. Then 
I looked up at the master coming back 
To cold reality. I don't know when 

I've ever felt such pity in my heart. 

I felt so sorry for old Plato then 

Who didn't have this love, who couldn't start 

To understand what Dante and I knew: 
That it's love that must dominate the soul; 
That it's only the love that helps us through. 



92 — REFLECTIONS 



"Dear master," I said like a gentle wife, 
"Are you so sure that what you say is good? 
Do you prescribe this pure rational life?" 

"Of course I do! I..." and his eyes went gray. 
He looked around at other souls in Limbo 
And couldn't think of anything to say. 

He seemed to me to be in a deep trance. 
I think I caught the meaning of his look - 
We were united in that one sad glance. 

The life of reason Plato loved so well, 
The life without the hope of Divine Love, 
Was the same life that made this Limbo Hell. 

We both knew it. We sat there for some time, 

And then I took my copy of the poem 

And briefly touched his shaking hand with mine. 

I turned and left him. Then I went to look 
For Norton, clutching in my hand the poem 
And thinking of what I'd learned from the book. 

My Norton was still deep in conversation 
With Virgil, who, excited, was demanding, 
"And Dante passed St. Pete's examination?" 

They turned and saw me. "Well? How did you do? 
Will Plato let you in to the Republic?" 
Norton asked, eyes a-twinkle. But he knew. 

"I guess that that's not where I want to be," 

I said to Norton, hesitating. "No - 

I guess pure reason's not the life for me." 

Poems and Lyrics: Student Days — 93 



I thought that Virgil nodded then. "But where 
Shall we go now?" my guide inquired, smiling. 
"You name the place, and I will take you there." 

And suddenly I thought: Emerson Hall, 
And Sanders Theater, and Harvard Yard - 
I don't want to be elsewhere. Not at all. 

"Let's go back home to Harvard, Norton, please." 
We took our leave of Virgil and went off 
We made the journey with amazing ease. 

The Love I felt from then on nothing mars 
The Love that gives the twinkle to the stars. 



94 — REFLECTIONS 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 95 



LETTER TO MY FATHER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

It's been nearly five decades 
Since I lost you, dear Father, 
And I wish now to tell you 
All that's happened, or rather, 

Highlights of my life 
And those of our family, 
Some whom you knew not 
Because you passed on too early. 

Since you departed, 
My boy and my girl - 
Your beloved grandkids - 
Let their talents unfurl. 

They both became doctors, 
Like your mom and dad. 
Their father's long illness 
May have led them to that. 

My son has done well. 
He has two lovely daughters. 
They're teens now. The older 
Will soon cross the waters, 

Traveling to London 
To learn about fashion 
Because - just like me - 
For design she has passion. 



96 — REFLECTIONS 



My daughter loves writing. 
She raised two fine ones, 
A boy and a girl, 
And their talent, too, runs 

In the direction of 
Creative expression: 
One through photography, 
While the other has passion 

For writing, like you. 
I remember the days 
When to me you'd dictate 
Your thoughts. Every phrase 

You spoke out as you paced 
Your study's floor, 
Was so perfect in thought 
And in structure and more, 

That there was never 
Even one thing there to edit. 
It's to you that I now feel 
I have to give credit 

For my own love of writing, 
Which was passed on by you, 
Although Mother wrote poems 
(More than a few). 

I was always inspired 
By the depth of your thought, 
Your clear-sighted vision 
And the message you brought. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 97 



I myself dedicated 
Many long years 
To creating visual art. 
It seems all those tears 

That I shed for Saul, 
My dear brother, your son, 
Were expressed in my art, 
When all's said and done. 

Though I wrote here and there, 
I'm now writing full-time, 
Books, plays and lyrics, 
Even poems that rhyme. 

Just like you, I love writing, 
And I'm glad that my vision, 
Which is now pretty poor, 
Does not hinder my mission. 

I didn't write you before, 
Though not a day has gone by 
That I didn't think of you. 
Somehow time does fly. 

Do you realize, Father, 
I'm now older than you, 
Living longer than you did? 
And now, while I do, 

I'll continue to try 

To make you proud of me. 

I bid you farewell 

Till each other we see. 



98 — REFLECTIONS 



POLITICAL PRISONER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

They took my dad away 
To an unknown, far-off place. 
In the night they grabbed him. 
I can still see his face. 

I was then in my teens. 
My hero was my dad. 
He was so warm and kind, 
The best I could have had. 

I knew he'd done no wrong. 

Too good for that was he. 

He just spoke up and showed the way 

Our people could be free. 

I went to visit him 
Where he was being held. 
They would not let me hug 
The man I loved so well. 

We sat on wooden stools 

So very far apart. 

We spoke of things that could be heard 

By his guards from the start. 

And when we said goodbye 
I broke down into tears. 
I knew if we could only hug 
I'd overcome my fears. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 99 



But he and I could not get close. 
Those were the rules, they said. 
I still remember how it felt 
And will until I'm dead. 



100 — REFLECTIONS 



LETTER TO MY MOTHER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Whenever I think 

Of my childhood, Mother, 

I always recall 

How I and my brother 

Suffered at your hands 
While growing up. 
The pain you inflicted 
Overflowed my cup. 

Perhaps you meant well. 
At times you were kind: 
A home of such elegance 
Would be hard to find, 

And the food the cook served 
Was always delicious, 
And, in hindsight, 
Was indeed nutritious. 

We attended a school 
With teachers so fine, 
They couldn't be equaled 
In all of mankind. 

Our clothes were impeccably 
Tailored and clean, 
Although there was then 
No washing machine. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 101 



You found excellent servants 
To do every chore, 
The child care, the cleaning, 
The driving and more. 

You provided us lessons 
In language and sports, 
And summers we spent 
In some fancy resorts. 

From outside it looked 
Like we had a great life. 
But beneath its surface, 
Our days had much strife. 

I've never forgotten 
How you would erupt, 
And beat us and scream 
And our calm interrupt, 

How all of a sudden 
You would pull my hair. 
I never knew why. 
It just wasn't fair! 

I was glad you decided 
To send us abroad 
To study in college, 
Though I couldn't applaud 

Your reason for sending 
My brother and me 
Away from dear Father, 
With whom we longed to be. 



102 — REFLECTIONS 



I haven't forgotten 
The pain you inflicted 
On me and my brother. 
It was unrestricted, 

But now that I'm old, 
And a bit wiser, too, 
Though I can't forget, 
I do forgive you. 

I forgive for myself, 
Not really for you. 
In all that deep pain 
I do not wish to stew. 

But remember, Mother, 
My forgiveness pertains 
Just to myself. 
My dear brother retains 

All rights in the matter. 
I wonder if he, 
Killed in his youth 
In a battle to free 

Our country from armies 
As fierce as you, 
Would also forgive. 
I so wish I knew! 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 103 



HER SUICIDE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When I was very small, 
And had just started school, 
To visit Raya every day 
Was my unwavering rule. 

She had been my dear nanny, 
But for reasons of her own, 
My mother had dismissed her, 
Which made me feel alone. 

So after school each day, 
On my way home for lunch, 
I'd stop and visit Raya, 
And never had a hunch 

That my daily meetings 
With Raya would soon stop, 
And that my secret visits 
I would soon have to drop. 

But one day when I got 
Quite close to Raya's place, 
There was a noisy mob outside 
Who spoke of the disgrace 

Of Raya being found 
Hanging from the ceiling. 
She had committed suicide. 
I can't describe my feeling! 



104 — REFLECTIONS 



I tried to break right through 
To see Raya once more, 
But was too small to fight 
My way to Raya's door. 

I have since often wondered 
If she would still be here 
If I had walked more quickly 
To see Raya, my dear. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 105 



MY NANNY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



It may seem pretty odd 
I still call her "my nanny" 
Although I'm quite old 
And already a granny 

To four grown-up kids 
In high school and beyond. 
Yet still I think of her, 
And feel the strong bond 

That we formed years ago 
When I was a young girl, 
And she came to our home 
When my life was a whirl 

Of dark thoughts 
And sad feelings 
And deep-seated 
Frustration. 

'Cause my mother 
Was so stern 
I felt complete 
Alienation. 

My nanny was calm. 
She never blew up 
As my own mother did, 
And she'd lift me up 



106 — REFLECTIONS 



When softly she'd speak - 
Unlike my own mother - 
And would give me a hug 
(Both me and my brother). 

I think that without 
My nanny beside me 
To lift up my spirit 
And always to guide me, 

I might not have survived 
And gone on to do 
All that my life 
Gave me the chance to. 

And all through the years 
As she lived to old age, 
We kept in touch 
As we each turned a page. 

And although she's now gone, 
She is still in my heart 
And I know she will always 
Of my life be a part. 

Her name was "Batyah" - 
Which means, in plain English, 
"The daughter of God," 
Whom one should distinguish 

From the women out there - 
I'm speaking of mothers - 
Mistreating their kids, 
Who need rescue by others. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 107 



Oh, Batyah! Dear Batyah! 
You were my true mother. 
I still love you more 
Than I could any other. 

Oh, Batyah! Dear Batyah! 
I'm grateful each day 
That our God in Heaven 
Sent an angel my way. 



108 — REFLECTIONS 



IN THE WOODS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

We went into the woods, 
My brother, Saul, and I. 
The day was very hot, 
The wind quite fierce and dry. 

We saw a small bird lying 
On her side, and her beak 
Was open as if trying 
To Saul and me to speak. 

But the bird did not move. 
In silence there she lay. 
No sound came from her beak. 
Dead quiet she would stay. 

"She's dead!" Saul then announced. 
He was my older brother. 
He was so smart, and to me 
Greater than any other. 

"Let's bury her," Saul then proposed, 
"At the spot where she lies. 
A bird should have a proper place 
To rest after she dies." 

And with his hands Saul started 
To dig into the ground. 
He placed the limp bird in the hole 
Near where the bird we found. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 109 



I helped my brother fill the hole 
With earth that he'd removed, 
And on top placed a little branch, 
Of which Saul then approved. 

A few weeks passed before 
We visited once more 
The woods where we had buried 
The bird that could not soar. 

We found the branch I'd put 
On the bird's resting place. 
We dug and dug right at that spot 
To see again her face. 

Though we dug deep and wide, 
We couldn't find our bird. 
"I think she went to Heaven!" 
My brother, Saul, declared. 

And from that day to this, 
I've wondered if that bird 
Is there with God in Heaven, 
As from Saul's lips I heard. 



110 — REFLECTIONS 



PUPPY LOVE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When I was very little 
I wanted most of all 
To have a little puppy 
Whom mine I could call. 

I did not give a hoot 
About the pedigree. 
A puppy's a pup, 
As I'm sure you'll agree. 

My own mother, however, 
Hated all dogs. 
In her mind little puppies 
Were far worse than hogs. 

It seems that she was bitten, 
When she was quite small, 
By a dog back in Russia 
Who was husky and tall. 

I pleaded and begged 
For my own little pup. 
My tears must have filled 
My stern mother's cup. 

She relented one day, 
And then, lo and behold! 
I got a little puppy 
To have and to hold. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 111 



The puppy was a mongrel. 
"Putzy" was her name, 
Her hair was long and black. 
She was sweet and tame. 

She grew up in my care - 
More love than discipline - 
And was a true friend, 
The best I'd ever seen. 

There were many days 
When Putzy would do wrong. 
She was her own dear person, 
And wouldn't go along 

With various rules my mother 
Set down for her behavior. 
I loved my Putzy oh, so much, 
That her I'd always favor. 

When Putzy became ready 
To have pups of her own, 
My mother ordered that she stay 
On the balcony all alone. 

We lived then in a ranch house, 
All on the ground floor. 
The balcony was fenced around 
With tall bars by the score. 

Dogs from our neighborhood 
Flocked to our yard 
When they sensed that Putzy 
Was ready and off-guard. 



112 — REFLECTIONS 



One handsome Spitz I noticed 
Among the dogs around, 
And that white Spitz, it seems, 
His way to Putzy found, 

For in due time my Putzy 
Bore puppies of her own, 
All four were black and white, 
The cutest ever known. 

I was, of course, delighted, 
Four new pups now to have, 
To love and always cherish, 
As Putzy them me gave. 

My mother was just furious. 
How dare I break the rules? 
How dare I let a Spitz dog 
Make of us such fools? 

How dare I let my Putzy 
Get pregnant and then have 
A litter of pups of her own? 
That really took some nerve! 

My mother then commanded 
I get rid of Putzy's litter 
By drowning them in a tub, 
Though my tears were quite bitter. 

Did my mother really think 
I could become a killer 
Of Putzy's precious little pups, 
For whom I was a pillar? 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 113 



I begged my mother to just wait 
Until the pups grew up. 
I promised that a home I'd find 
Where they would live and sup. 

Again I cried and pleaded 
To let me keep the pups 
Just for a few short weeks, 
And then I'd give them up. 

My tears must have filled 
My stern mother's cup. 
She let me keep the puppies 
Until their time was up. 

I loved those puppies and 
Was in a joyous mood, 
But in a few short weeks I had 
To give them up for good. 

I gave them to some soldiers 
At a nearby army base. 
I knew they'd take good care, 
And Putzy's pups embrace. 

From time to time I'd visit, 
Let Putzy come along. 
I think that Putzy never forgot. 
Our love for them stayed strong. 



114 — REFLECTIONS 



DIAMOND RING 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When I was a teen 
And still lived at home 
With my mom and my dad, 
But was planning to roam 

In a faraway land 
While going to college, 
Earning not just degrees 
But also some knowledge, 

I decided to purchase 
A ring that I could 
Bring along to remind me 
Of my land, as it would. 

I had little money 
But allowance I'd saved. 
I hoped that would allow me 
To buy what I craved. 

So I went to a jeweler, 
And looked at each ring 
He displayed in his store, 
And they all had such bling 

That for a long moment 
I couldn't decide 
Which of the rings 
On my finger I'd slide. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 115 



And then I did notice 

A diamond ring 

Whose stone was quite small, 

But it had real zing. 

There were so many facets 
That, however I viewed it, 
That stone was so bright - 
It was mine, and I knew it. 

I then asked the jeweler, 
Who stood there alone, 
If I could on my finger 
Slide the ring with that stone 

That was itself tiny 
Compared to the rest, 
But its sparkle was such 
That I liked it the best. 

The jeweler then opened 
The case, which was locked, 
Slid the ring on my finger, 
And I was so shocked 

To see how it sparkled 
Even more on my hand, 
When viewed from close up. 
It was truly grand! 

I then asked the jeweler 
To tell me how much 
That marvel would cost me, 
But his price was such 



116 — REFLECTIONS 



It exceeded my savings 
By quite a bit, 
And although he argued 
That the stone was worth it 

Because of its sparkle, 
Plus the silver design, 
I was able to bargain 
The price down to mine. 

I then paid the jeweler, 
And he placed the ring 
In a small silver box 
That I would with me bring 

Wherever I roamed, 
So I could remember 
My roots in the land 
That I left one September. 

And indeed many times 
When I felt all alone, 
I would take out my ring 
And reflect on its stone. 

A few years went by. 
My prince then I met, 
And in due time I was 
Quite eager to get 

My own stone remounted 
Upon our engagement, 
And all through my years 
Of married contentment, 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 117 



I would look at my left hand 
And focus my mind 
On both my good life 
And the land left behind. 



118 — REFLECTIONS 



MY BROTHER, SAUL 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When evening dark engulfs me 
And I am filled with fears 
And I feel blue and lonely 
And can't hold back my tears, 

I lie in bed all restless 
And cannot get to sleep, 
And ask myself, "Who is it 
For whom I always weep?" 

For whom do I cry 

Again and again? 

For whom do I shed 

All those tears without end? 

Is it for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

For your youth 

Sacrificed in war at twenty-one? 

Is it for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

For your love 

Consumed in rapture by voracious gods? 

Is it for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

For your dreams 

Evaporated into air that strangers breathe? 

Is it for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

For your life 

Snuffed out so many years ago? 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 119 



For whom do I cry 

Again and again? 

For whom do I shed 

All those tears without end? 

It's not for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

Not for your youth 

Sacrificed in war at twenty-one. 

It's not for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

Not for your love 

Consumed in rapture by voracious gods. 

It's not for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

Not for your dreams 

Evaporated into air that strangers breathe. 

It's not for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

Not for your life 

Snuffed out so many years ago. 

For whom do I cry 

Again and again? 

For whom do I shed 

All those tears without end? 

It's not for you I cry, my brother, Saul, 

Not for your life 

Snuffed out so many years ago. 

It's for my life I cry, my brother, Saul. 
It's for my life snuffed out with yours. 
I cry for me. 



120 — REFLECTIONS 



DEAR ANNE-MARIE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Are you there to recall, 
After so many years, 
The pain we endured, 
And all our bitter tears? 
Or am I left alone 
To remember the past, 
And grieve by myself 
For his death in that blast? 

Dear Anne-Marie, 
I am writing you now, 
After so many years, 
To tell you just how, 

Though I'm very old, 
As you must now be, 
I've never forgotten 
What he meant to me, 

Your brother, Gerard, 
Who came from afar 
To fight for my country 
And then left a scar 

Right in my heart, 

Which, in truth, never healed, 

Although I went on 

With the scar in me sealed. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 121 



Are you there to recall, 
After so many years, 
The pain we endured, 
And all our bitter tears? 
Or am I left alone 
To remember the past, 
And grieve by myself 
For his death in that blast? 

It seems so ironic 
That an expert like him 
At defusing bombs 
Should lose life and limb 

Because of a bomb 
Blowing up in his hand, 
A bomb that was planted 
By a terrorist band. 

Are you there to recall, 
After so many years, 
The pain we endured, 
And all our bitter tears? 
Or am I left alone 
To remember the past, 
And grieve by myself 
For his death in that blast? 

I have lived a full life, 
As I hope you have, too. 
I married and had kids 
And grandkids a few. 



122 — REFLECTIONS 



I created some art, 
Much of it about war, 
And wrote books and plays 
And some poems and more. 

But all through my days 
Both of joy and of sorrow, 
He's been in my heart, 
As he will be tomorrow. 

I hope you are well. 
Please write. Let me hear. 
We have him in common, 
Your brother, my dear. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 123 



IN A STORMY LAND 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Once in a stormy land, 
Beside a stormy sea, 
I met a princely man 
Who bade me, "Follow me!" 

I did just as he said. 
I had been all alone. 
I longed for a soul mate. 
I'd lost the one I'd known. 

As we braved the stormy land 
And defied the stormy sea, 
He held my hand in his 
And did not let it free. 

We would stop now and then 
To take our bearing 
By the light of the moon, 
Always there, always staring. 

We spoke of things past, 
Did not think of tomorrow - 
Spoke of war and of death 
And of pain and of sorrow. 

And when we grew still 
And I was filled with fears, 
He held me close to him 
And drove away my tears. 



124 — REFLECTIONS 



I did just as he said. 
I had been all alone. 
I longed for a soul mate. 
I'd lost the one I'd known. 

Did I love the man, 
And did he love me, 
In that stormy land, 
Near the stormy sea? 

What does it matter? 

Call it what you will! 

He was my anchor and my light. 

Hope is beyond love still. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 125 



AT THE WEDDING 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



We happened to stop 

At a cafe 

Where a wedding was taking 

Place on that day. 

We had been acquainted, 
My old friend and I, 
When we were kids, 
But years had gone by. 

So our own lives we lived, 
He his and I mine, 
Yet we recently met 
And decided to dine 

And speak of our lives 
From the time that we parted 
Right after school, 
When our separate lives started 

In the cafe 

Where we happened to stop, 

The music was gay 

And there was a crop 

Of guests who were dancing 
To the live beat 
Which the orchestra kept 
Despite the high heat. 



126 — REFLECTIONS 



The couple was young, 
He handsome and tall, 
She tiny and fragile, 
The belle of the ball. 

As I looked at the couple 
Just getting married, 
I could not but notice 
How far life had carried 

Us from our youth 
And up to this age 
When life's mostly behind us 
As we turn a new page. 

They danced to the music 
The orchestra played. 
Their friends consumed drinks 
As if no more could be made, 

And ate snacks prepared 
By the greatest of cooks, 
Who patterned those goodies 
After ancient cook books. 

There were bright lights galore 
Right at the center, 
Where guests were carousing 
'Midst laughter and banter. 

We sat in the corner, 

My old friend and I, 

Away from the party, 

Where the noise was so high. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 127 



We sat in the shadow, 
In near-total dark, 
Our chairs close together 
So to each other we'd hark. 

He told me his story, 
How right after school, 
He worked hard and started 
A career that was cool, 

He spoke then of books 
He read and admired, 
And music he loved, 
Of which he never tired. 

I told him of art 
That I had created 
In various mediums 
And then I related 

That I plan much more 
Art to create, 

Books to write, poems, too 
Before it's too late. 

The music was loud 
As the crowd danced away 
And drank and ate snacks 
And was merry and gay, 

While my old friend and I 
Sat alone and conversed, 
Bridging the distance 
Our lives had traversed. 



128 — REFLECTIONS 



How great that in darkness 
One can still shed light 
On years that are now 
Very far out of sight. 

We'd been almost strangers, 
Myself and that man, 
But now at the wedding 
We learned that we can 

Become reacquainted, 
And form a new bond 
Of whose memory I still 
Remain truly fond. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 129 



IN HAIFA BAY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



We sat on deck 
In Haifa Bay, 
He and I, 
Alone that day, 

Waiting for 
Our ship to sail, 
As expected, 
Without fail. 

The harbor lights 
Were quite dim, 
But in the distance, 
Within a swim, 

We saw the blinking 
City lights 
As Haifa dozed 
There in the night. 

The motion of 
Our little ship, 
Teeter-tottering 
As on a trip 

Above the waves, 
Belied the fact 
That we were still. 
All motion lacked. 



130 — REFLECTIONS 



While overhead, 
The stars were bright 
With promise that 
We'd sail tonight, 

And go to places 
Far away, 

As the stars winked 
Above the bay. 

Our ship 
Never left 
Haifa Bay. 
It never sailed 
Across the waves 
Up and away. 

For our ship 
Would not go 
Just for us. 
There was no 

Other passenger 
On board, 
Just he and I 
And the good Lord. 

So while we sat, 
Waiting away 
In the dim lights, 
Of Haifa Bay, 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 131 



With the winking 
Stars above, 
We started speaking, 
Not of love, 

But of times 
So far away, 
Nearer the dawn 
Of our day. 

Could he imagine? 
Did I know? 
Where were we when? 
Where did we go? 

And what did we 
Not do or try? 
And was it right 
Or wrong, and why? 

We had been almost 
Strangers when 
We came on deck 
And waited then, 

For our ship 
To sail away 
And take us far 
From Haifa Bay. 



132 — REFLECTIONS 



Our ship 
Never left 
Haifa Bay. 
It never sailed 
Across the waves 
Up and away. 

But as we spoke 
While sitting there, 
We traveled far 
As we did dare 

To bridge the gulf 
Between our lives 
And traverse time 
As friends would strive. 

Yes, he and I, 
Together braved 
The dark deep ocean 
Through memories saved, 

And navigated, 
Come what may, 
While sitting still 
In Haifa Bay. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 133 



THE FIELDS OF TAMRA 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

It was a narrow winding road 

That led me, 

Through the fields of Tamra, 

To an enchanted castle 

Which rose up 

Among the fields of Tamra. 

I doffed my shoes on entering 

The shrine 

Within the fields of Tamra, 

And stepped on mats and sat on cushions 

Laid out 

At the fields of Tamra. 

Then men in long white robes 

Appeared 

From the fields of Tamra. 

They spoke not with their tongues 
But with their smiling eyes 
Amidst the fields of Tamra. 

They offered grapes sweet as wine, 
Plucked from vines 
Along the fields of Tamra, 

And said a silent prayer 

Heard by one 

Over the fields of Tamra. 



134 — REFLECTIONS 



And the sun set slowly 
In a blood-red sky 
Beyond the fields of Tamra. 

And the moon arose 
In silvery splendor 
Above the fields of Tamra. 

And the night was silent 
And the world was still 
Around the fields of Tamra. 

And the air was pure and sweet 

And warm 

Through the fields of Tamra. 

Now I long to return 

On the long winding road 

To the fields of Tamra, 

Where my heart found joy and love 

And peace 

Amidst the fields of Tamra. 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 135 



ON THE ROAD 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



On the road 

From Lake Kinneret 

To the cemetery, 

You spoke to me 

In harsh words 

That stabbed. 

On the road 

From Lake Kinneret 

To the cemetery, 

I passed 

From dream to reality, 

From hope to despair, 

From a singing heart 

To death. 

Will you bring me back 

From the cemetery 

To Lake Kinneret? 



136 — REFLECTIONS 



BENEATH THE SAND 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Have you wondered, my dear friend, 
What is there beneath the sand, 
The sand that is right on the beach, 
Or further down the land? 

Let me tell you what I know. 

I've been to a far land 

Where desert breezes with them bring 

The secrets of the sand. 

The wind that blew across that fertile land, 

The desert wind that blew, 

The hot dry wind 

That scorched the land 

And brought the endless sands 

That covered growing things 

With rows of powdery waves, 

The wind that blew across that ancient land, 

The desert wind that blew 

And drove all living things 

Into the parched earth, 

So only skeletons 

And dry bones peek 

Through miles of desert dunes, 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 137 



The wind that blew across that promised land, 

The unrelenting wind, 

Swallowed, sank and silenced 

All vestige of existence 

And buried in its path 

Experience and memory 

Beneath the shifting sands. 

Have you wondered, my dear friend, 
What is there beneath the sand, 
The sand that is right on the beach, 
Or further down the land? 

I've now told you what I know. 

I've been to a far land 

Where desert breezes with them brought 

The secrets of the sand. 



138 — REFLECTIONS 



TORN BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Although it's been years 
Since I left my home land, 
And came to a country 
That is truly grand, 
My heart is still torn 
Twixt the old and the new. 
Where do I belong? 
How I wish that I knew! 

I was born in a country 
That was then not free. 

It was ruled by strangers, 
And I could clearly see 

Not only that some day 
We'd fight for our land, 

But that each would have 
To give what each can. 

I was only eighteen 
When I was sent away 

By my parents to study 
In afar U.S.A., 

To absorb in college 
As much as I could, 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 139 



Then return to my country 
And serve as I should. 

In college I studied 
Whatever I thought 

Would help my dear land 
When myself back I brought. 

I had little interest 

In the choices I fashioned. 

Creative expression 
Was truly my passion. 

When I finished college, 
And law school to boot, 

I returned to my homeland 
And was then en route 

To contributing what I could 
To a great cause: 

A country, now free, 

Which would fight, without pause, 

Against enemies wishing 
To bring a quick end 

To its existence 
As a free land. 

I tried then my best 
To use what I'd learned 



140 — REFLECTIONS 



In college and law school - 
Give back what I'd earned - 

But I felt quite depressed, 
And thoroughly bored, 

Using the knowledge 
I had in me stored, 

So I left my small country 
To newly explore 

In the U.S., in peace, 
What might be in store 

For me to still learn 
That I hadn't before, 

And find my own place, 
Do what's mine at its core. 

I learned about art 
And about writing, too, 

And was never bored 
While pursuing those two, 

And indeed I created 
My art then for years, 

And did lots of writing, 

All the while shedding tears 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 141 



Over being so far 
Away from my home 

In that little land 

Where I so yearned to roam. 

Though I left my small land 
So I could be free 

To pursue my own passion 
And thus be simply me, 

My heart's always torn 
Between my two lands, 

That of my birth 

And the one at whose hands 

I had the great chance 
To create all I could, 

And perhaps serve mankind 
In a way that I should. 

Although it's been years 
Since I left my home land, 
And came to a country 
That is truly grand, 
My heart is still torn 
Twixt the old and the new. 
Where do I belong? 
How I wish that I knew! 



142 — REFLECTIONS 



WHAT IS THE FORCE? 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What is the force 

That guides me 

To walk in Father's way? 

What makes me 
Keep on moving, 
And never go astray? 

Is it the strength 

I garnered 

From the love Father gave? 

Is it that love which 

Will me guide 

Till I go to my grave? 



Poems and Lyrics: Israel Diary — 143 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 

ioomc ua\c 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 145 



CHAIN 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I now think of the days 
When Grandma was around, 
Of the visits I paid her 
And always her found 

To be truly friendly 
And loving and kind, 
And ready to chat about 
What's on my mind, 

I remember especially 
When I inquired 
About where I belong, 
And she me inspired. 

She told me that first 
I belong to myself, 
For each person always 
Is master of self, 

Then to my parents, 
Who did give me birth, 
And therefore the life 
I have here on this earth, 

And then to their parents, 
My grandparents four, 
Who had given birth 
To my parents and more. 



146 — REFLECTIONS 



And then - well, you get it 
To past generations, 
Way back to the time 
Of the parents of nations, 

Our Adam and Eve 
In that beautiful place, 
Who started the chain 
Of the whole human race. 

It made me so happy 
To hear Grandma say 
That my roots go that far, 
And that I surely may 

Consider myself 
A link in the chain. 
I felt that my life 
Will not be in vain. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 147 



THE TUNNEL 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When I was in the Scouts, 
To a tunnel I was brought. 
It led right through a mountain. 
With challenge it was fraught. 

They wished to make me strong 
Through dangers I'd confront. 
This was no fun-filled venture. 
Twas no magician's stunt. 

The tunnel's opening seemed 
Quite small for me to enter. 
I had to stoop as I went in, 
Walked toward the tunnel's center. 

Not only that, but as I walked, 
All stooped, into that place, 
I noticed it was getting dark 
Like night in that tight space. 

I wished to turn around and walk 
Right back to whence I came. 
But then I feared that such a move 
On me would bring great shame. 

So on I walked into the dark, 
My back now sore from bending. 
I wished that this was just a dream 
That would be shortly ending. 



148 — REFLECTIONS 



I went down on all fours as I 
Proceeded toward the end. 
My back was painful from the stoop, 
But now I felt my hand 

Was scratched and bleeding as I crawled 
My knees began to swell. 
I pitied people who, perhaps, 
In tunnels have to dwell. 

I crawled and crawled and all the time 
I thought I should turn back 
And crawl, instead, the other way 
Before my body cracked. 

And in my mind I conjured up 
Great dangers all around. 
Would I be victimized by ghosts 
And not be safe and sound? 

But, despite all, I went right on, 
Quite sore and yet intact. 
Was it my spirit that endured 
Or fear of shame in fact? 

It seemed like hours before I reached 
The mountain's other side. 
And while I suffered all that pain 
I was quite filled with pride. 

As I emerged into the light 
I heard a great big cheer. 
But that was not why I was proud. 
I'd conquered pain and fear! 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 149 



BETRAYAL 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

If you're about to put your trust 
In someone, you simply must 
Listen as I tell my tale - 
It's a true story of betrayal. 

I was a kid then, in grade school, 
And my parents had a rule: 

"Don't talk to strangers when you're out! 
If you're in danger, flee and shout!" 

Now at that time, when we bought milk, 
There was no carton smooth as silk. 

There was no store to buy milk in. 
A milkman brought it in a tin 

Container carried on the back 
Of a donkey who had a knack 

For being friendly as can be 
To little girls as young as me. 

I longed to ride that donkey then. 
I didn't care just where or when. 

One day the milkman brought us some 
Of that delicious milk. He'd come 

With his cute donkey, who now stood 
Next to my house and was so good. 



150 — REFLECTIONS 



I went right out to pet the beast 

And hoped the milkman would at least 

Allow me but a single ride, 

Thus fill my heart with immense pride. 

The milkman came out of my house. 
He was as quiet as a mouse. 

I would not speak to strangers then. 
This was no stranger. He was the man 

Who brought us milk 'most every day. 
I asked then: Would he let me play 

With his cute donkey for a while, 
And could I ride it just a mile? 

The milkman smiled and helped me on 
I was a queen, right on my throne. 

And then he grabbed the donkey's ear 
And pulled it hard, showing no fear 

That he might hurt his donkey so, 
By not letting that ear go. 

He pulled the donkey to his barn, 
Which was a small one and quite far, 

And all the time I was content 
To ride the beast. What an event! 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 151 



The barn door seemed quite heavy then. 
Our milkman was a sturdy man. 

He opened it with his free hand, 
And led the donkey in to stand. 

He closed the door and locked it tight. 
On the inside it seemed like night. 

He fast approached me, grabbed my waist, 
Dismounted me with immense haste, 

Did not let go of me and then 

Pulled off my blouse and put his hand 

Right on my skirt and tugged at it 
To pull it off, and would not quit. 

I started screaming loud, and ran 
To the barn door, unlocked it then, 

And fled outside into the light 
So I'd be quickly out of sight 

Of someone who was not a stranger, 
Yet he had put me in great danger. 

Remember now and ever more: 
Beware of strangers and keep score. 

They may be people that you know, 
But you can't tell how far they'll go. 



152 — REFLECTIONS 



If you're about to put your trust 
In someone, you simply must 
Remember my distressing tale - 
True story of a past betrayal. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 153 



ON THE BEACH 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I was only sixteen 
That warm summer eve, 
When I went to a party 
That made me believe 
The world is just filled 
With gaiety and fun 
And romance and love 
When the day is done. 

The party was in a 
Cafe on the beach, 
And when we arrived 
In that place within reach 
Of the sea and the sand 
And the rocks I knew well, 
I felt right at home 
Although darkness fell. 

The music was loud. 
My boyfriend was new, 
But the rest of the scene 
I certainly knew. 
I had been to the beach 
Since my earliest days, 
To swim and to frolic 
And then to sunbathe. 



154 — REFLECTIONS 



It was warm that evening 
And in the cafe 
The dancing was wild 
And the music was gay. 
We danced for a while, 
My new boyfriend and I, 
Till we got overheated 
And decided to try 

To cool off by walking 
Along the long beach, 
Where the cool sea breeze 
Would us easily reach. 
We walked side by side. 
Then he reached for my hand 
And held it in his, 
While we heard the band 

Continue to play 
That gay music it played, 
And I felt so happy 
That we had not stayed 
In that warm crowded place, 
But were on the cool beach, 
My new boyfriend and I, 
And the sea within reach. 

When suddenly sprang 
A dark figure quite huge 
From behind a rock, 
And there was no refuge 
For me or my boyfriend 
In view of the danger. 
What to do? Where to go 
To escape that huge stranger? 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 155 



My boyfriend let go 
Of my hand then and ran 
Toward the cafe from where 
I could still hear the band. 
He left me right there 
On the beach all alone, 
To fight the huge man 
Who hid behind the stone. 

I do not remember 

All that then passed. 

I screamed and I kicked 

And I ran very fast. 

I got back from the beach 

Quite out of breath. 

I didn't glance at my boyfriend 

I was wishing him death. 

Though I cannot remember 
All that ensued, 
I did learn a lesson 
That I have since used: 
The world is not really 
All lightness and fun. 
A danger is lurking. 
Better know how to run! 

And don't put your faith 
In people you meet. 
Be willing to fight 
And be ready to beat 
Any danger that's lurking 
Behind some big stone. 
Just rely on yourself, 
For you are alone. 



156 — REFLECTIONS 



HOWLING WIND 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When I was a teen 
And began to explore 
The town where I lived, 
Its stores and much more, 

I would travel unfettered 
By bus here and there. 
No one had objections, 
Which I thought was quite fair. 

The bus stop to go 

Was right next to our place. 

But the one to return 

Was downhill and the space 

Between that bus stop 
And the house where we lived 
Was quite a long hike, 
Longer than you'd believe. 

Not only the distance 
But the terrain, too. 
When you got off the bus 
You had climbing to do. 

There were a few houses 
Between mine and the stop. 
For our house was the one 
At the hill's very top. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 157 



One cold, windy day 
I decided to go 
To some of the stores 
And see what they'd show, 

Whether rings that were sparkly 
With bright pretend gems, 
Or pictures from movies 
And the stars in them, 

Or perhaps a good book 
That had come from afar, 
Or a notebook to write down 
My thoughts without bar. 

I went out of my house 
And boarded the bus, 
And arrived at some stores 
Without any fuss. 

I bought there small trinkets 
And interesting books. 
I boarded the bus back, 
But noticed the looks 

Paid me by a stranger 
Who sat 'cross the aisle. 
He seemed short and ugly, 
And all of the while 

The bus was progressing 
En route to my stop, 
This guy was staring 
And his gaze wouldn't drop. 



158 — REFLECTIONS 



The bus was quite full 
And the wind was howling. 
It sounded just like 
Some animals growling. 

I could hardly wait 
To get to my stop, 
And then disembark 
And be rid of that flop 

Who was staring at me 
All through the trip, 
With a grin on his face 
And my mood in his grip. 

At last came my stop. 
I got up and then walked 
To the front of the bus, 
But was clearly stalked 

By the short ugly man 
Who had sat 'cross the aisle, 
Gazing at me 
In his own grotesque style. 

I got off the bus, 
And began then to run 
Up the hill to my house 
At a speed that would stun. 

The sun had now set. 
It was dark all around. 
I ran up the street 
'Midst that howling sound. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 159 



And the man was behind me, 

Running quite fast. 

I quickly got rid 

Of the things I'd amassed. 

The man tried to grab me. 
I started to scream, 
But the wind was howling 
As if in a dream. 

My house was quite far, 
All the way up the hill. 
No chance I could reach it 
While being chased still. 

My screams were all drowned 
In that fierce, howling wind. 
I could not be heard. 
I wished I could rescind 

The trip I had made 
To the town on that day, 
Which started so well 
But was ending this way. 

The man was pursuing. 
I was running fast. 
My house was still far. 
My strength wouldn't last. 

I decided to turn 
To the house of a stranger, 
A house that was close, 
So I'd be out of danger. 



160 — REFLECTIONS 



I did not then know 
Who lived there but, still, 
The house was quite close 
So I turned in at will, 

And banged on the door, 
And rang the door bell, 
And the door was opened, 
And the man from hell 



Ran away down the 
And then out of sight, 
While the wind was howling 
Deep into the night. 

The neighbors were friendly. 
I told them my tale. 
They took me right home, 
Where some calm would prevail, 

I decided right then 
I would not venture out 
On a day when there was 
Howling wind all about. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 161 



PET PROJECT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When my son 
Was just a boy, 
I figured that 
He would enjoy 

And also learn 
A thing or two 
By caring for 
A pet quite new. 

I took the boy 
To a pet store, 
Where they had fish 
In shapes galore. 

They had some snakes 
Who swirled and hissed, 
And some big frogs 
That their mates missed. 

There were small mice 
Who were so white 
They could be seen 
Even at night. 

And we saw lizards, 
Gerbils, too, 
And even rats - 
More than a few. 



162 — REFLECTIONS 



We looked around 
At all the pets, 
The dogs who barked 
At those poor cats, 

The rabbits who 
Were all pure white, 
Which to me seemed 
A sheer delight. 

But my boy chose 
One of the birds. 
A parakeet. 
He minced no words. 

That was the pet 
He wanted most. 
The other pets 
To him were toast. 

He chose a special 

Parakeet 

From a large cage 

Which was replete 

With parakeets 
In pretty hues 
Like yellow, green, 
And many blues. 

He liked a blue one 
Best of all. 
We bought a cage 
There to install 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 163 



My boy's new pet - 
His parakeet. 
He named it "Prissy," 
Which can't be beat. 

We got some seeds 
With which to feed 
His Prissy plus 
More stuff indeed. 

When we got home 
He set the cage 
Right on our table 
Where he could stage 

His long routine 
Of taking care 
Of his dear pet 
Under my stare. 

He gave it seeds 
And water, too, 
Covering the cage 
When he was through. 

I noticed Prissy 
Did not sing. 
Her head was tucked 
Beneath her wing. 

I thought perhaps 
The bird was tired, 
Or else was simply 
Not inspired. 



164 — REFLECTIONS 



In the morning 
My boy went out 
To go to school 
But left no doubt 

That though he had 
To go to school, 
To let his bird sleep 
Would be cool. 

It was mid-morning 
When I went 
To see his bird, 
And was intent 

On letting Prissy 
Enjoy our home, 
And maybe even 
Let her roam. 

Moving the cover 
On Prissy's cage, 
I had a shock. 
I felt enraged. 

For Prissy lay 
Right on the floor 
Of the new cage. 
She lived no more. 

I could not bear 
That my dear boy 
Who was so ready 
To enjoy 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 165 



His brand new pet - 
His parakeet - 
Would suffer such 
A great defeat. 

I reached into 
Poor Prissy's cage, 
Removed the bird 
So I could stage 

A substitution 
Undetected, 
So my dear boy 
Would be protected. 

I wrapped the dead bird 
In some paper. 
I cleaned the cage - 
Which was no caper. 

I then drove Prissy 
To the store 
To swap the bird 
For just one more. 

I chose a blue one 
From the cage 
Where my boy at 
A prior stage 

Had picked his Prissy. 
I was pleased 
To find another 
One indeed. 



166 — REFLECTIONS 



I rushed right home 
And placed the bird 
Inside the cage, 
Quite undeterred. 

I named the new bird 
"Prissy," too, 
And was delighted 
When she flew 

From one perch 
Right to another, 
Chirping as if 
I was her mother! 

When he came home 
My boy just asked, 
"And how is Prissy?" 
I then remarked, 

"Your bird is fine. 
Just listen, dear. 
She chirps and sings. 
She has no fear." 

With love, my boy 
Smiled at his bird. 
And I, his mom, 
Said not a word. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 167 



SEEING RED 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When my girl 
Was very small, 
I thought that she 
Would have a ball 

Feeding pigeons 
In the park, 
So on that mission 
We embarked. 

I dressed her in 
A pretty coat 
So bright and red 
It made me gloat. 

I hoped that pigeons 
Would admire 
The beauty of 
My girl's attire. 

Together we 
Went on to buy 
The best of seeds 
So we could try 

To charm the birds 
And have them swarm 
Around my girl, 
As was their norm. 



168 — REFLECTIONS 



But when we got 
Where pigeons flocked 
'Round boys in slacks 
And girls in frocks, 

They flew away 
From my dear girl, 
Although the seeds 
She scattered well. 

She even held 
Some seeds in her 
Outstretched hand 
In hopes that there 

Would be a pigeon 
Who would land 
And eat the seeds 
Out of her hand. 

But none did come. 
They flew away. 
I was upset. 
We did not stay. 

I feared my girl 
Would be quite miffed 
That all those pigeons 
Her had stiffed, 

That she would never 
Again try 
To feed the birds 
That in parks fly, 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 169 



But my girl asked 
To go right back 
To feed the pigeons 
One more snack. 

So the next day, 
Once more we tried. 
I dressed her in 
A blue coat tied 

With a silver 
Belt around 
Her tiny waist, 
And then we found 

A place where we 
Could buy more seed 
With which she could 
The pigeons feed. 

Again we went 
Right to the park. 
I held my breath. 
I feared the mark 

Of birds' rejection 
On my girl. 
I prayed that birds 
Would 'round her swirl 

My prayer indeed 
Worked like a charm - 
At any rate, 
It did no harm - 



170 — REFLECTIONS 



For this time pigeons, 
Big and small, 
Flocked to my girl 
Who had a ball 

Feeding pigeons 
Left and right. 
Some from her hand 
Did take a bite! 

I was so glad 
My girl had not 
Been scarred for life. 
She now forgot 

The pain of standing 
All alone 
As birds away 
From her had flown. 

I wonder whether 
Birds can see 
Colors just 
Like you and me. 

I wonder if 
The color red 
Brings them the fear 
They'll soon be dead. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 171 



REUNION 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



We met again 
All those years after 
We finished school 
'Midst joy and laughter. 

We had been friends, 
And often spoke 
Of classmates, teachers, 
And other folk. 

As friends would do, 
We talked about 
Ourselves in ways 
That cleared all doubt. 

What I liked most 
About us two 
Was we were always 
Good and true. 

We were true friends 
Who could, indeed, 
Discuss things and 
Each other read. 

We had then gone 
Our separate ways, 
I to study 
And then to raise 



172 — REFLECTIONS 



A family, while 
You remained 
A bachelor who 
Yourself sustained 

By building such 
A great career 
That it garnered you 
Applause and cheer. 

I did more 
Than just remain 
A wife and mother. 
I did gain 

The skills with which 
To create art 
That my true feelings 
Would impart. 

My husband died. 
I was alone, 
My duties done, 
My children grown. 

I focused mainly 
On my art, 
To help forget 
Who did depart. 

I met you then, 
After long years. 
We'd been apart, 
And I said cheers 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 173 



That after all 
That had gone by, 
We were together, 
You and I. 

You took me places 
I'd never known. 
You spoke to me 
As if we'd grown 

So close that it seemed 
All those years 
That were between us, 
And all those tears 

I'd shed in all 
The time that passed, 
Were now forgotten 
And did not last. 

I thought that we were, 
You and I, 

A match determined 
From on high. 

I did not mind 
Your aging face, 
Your balding head, 
Your slowing pace. 

I did not care 
If you were not 
The high school kid 
I never forgot. 



174 — REFLECTIONS 



But one thing 
I expected you: 
To be sincere 
And always true. 

When suddenly - 
Out of the blue - 
I found out that 
You were not you, 

That you are gay 
And have a lover 
Concealed from me 
And under cover. 

What I wished 
For me and you 
Was to be always 
Good and true. 

We were once friends 
Who could, indeed, 
Discuss things and 
Each other read. 

The lie you told 
Was not overt. 
Such words would have 
Me indeed hurt. 

But it was worse 
That you concealed 
The truth that others 
Now revealed. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 175 



There was no way 
We could stay friends, 
For that means trust 
That never ends. 

I kick myself 
That I was not 
Aware that you 
Would scheme and plot. 

I wish we had 
Stayed far apart, 
And never met 
And then restart 

The friendship known 
When we were young, 
When only truth was 
On our tongue. 

Farewell, classmate! 
I wish you well, 
Right on this earth 
And then in Hell. 



176 — REFLECTIONS 



THOUGHTS AT NIGHT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



The shades are drawn. 
The lights are out. 
The day is done. 
There is no doubt 
The world's asleep. 
There is a hush. 
My thoughts begin 
In me to rush. 
How was my day? 
What did I do? 
Did I fulfill 
What I had to? 

I think of those 
Who are now gone, 
And of the way 
They carried on, 
Of what they left 
For me to do, 
My father, husband, 
Brother, too. 

My father spent 
Much of his time 
In public service 
Since his prime. 
He wrote and lectured, 
His sharp mind 
Raising awareness 
In all mankind. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 177 



My husband, too, 
Aimed but to raise 
The state of knowledge, 
Not seeking praise. 
He taught his students 
Not just the law, 
But for justice 
To have great awe. 

My brother, Saul, 
Was killed in war, 
When he was young 
And knew no more 
Than how to give 
His life up for 
The country that 
He did adore. 

All three were upright, 
Good and wise. 
They worked to give, 
Not for the prize. 
They wished to leave 
The world they knew 
A better place 
When they withdrew. 

They left for me 
To carry on 
The work their death 
Cut at its dawn. 
I need to make 
Them proud of me, 
And so I strive 
Like them to be. 



178 — REFLECTIONS 



The shades are drawn. 
The lights are out. 
The day is done. 
There is no doubt 
The world's asleep. 
There is a hush. 
My thoughts begin 
In me to rush. 
How was my day? 
What did I do? 
Did I fulfill 
What I had to? 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 179 



THOUGHTS AT SUNRISE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When I wake up each morning 
And open up my eyes, 
And through my great big window 
I see some great blue skies, 

I know then that a new day 
Is waiting there for me, 
To do just as I please, 
For I am truly free. 

I resolve that today 
I'll avoid all those chores 
That accompany living 
But are often great bores, 

Like cleaning and cooking 
Or seeing a doc, 
Or shopping in places 
To which others flock. 

I know some of these 
Are sometimes required, 
But I try to avoid them 
And do what's inspired. 

I remember what I did 
The day that just passed, 
And of all the things 
I did, what would last, 



180 — REFLECTIONS 



Like being with family 
And giving them love, 
Or creating some artwork 
Inspired from above, 

Or writing a poem 
That tells how I feel, 
Or a lyric whose music 
Will make it more real. 

I resolve then to do 
All those things that will last 
When my body becomes 
Memory from the past. 

And at night when I lay 
Myself down to rest, 
I'll read a few pages 
From a book that's the best 

To nourish my soul. 
I'm then ready for sleep 
And again will wake up 
And my promise I'll keep. 

When I wake up each morning 
And open up my eyes, 
And through my great big window 
I see some great blue skies, 

I know then that a new day 
Is waiting there for me, 
To do just as I please, 
For I am truly free. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 181 



WHAT I WISH FOR IN LIFE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



As I look all around me 
And see all those folk 
Wasting their time 
As if life is a joke, 

When I notice them running 
Hither and yon, 
Bored with their work 
Before the day is gone, 

And spending their spare time 

In front of TV 

Or drinking in bars 

So their lives they could flee, 

I wish I could borrow 
The time on their hands 
So I could accomplish 
All of my plans 

To paint and to write 
And to teach all I've learned 
To my grandkids so they 
Their own lives will spend 

Doing that which endures 
From one age to the next 
And makes of our lives 
A meaningful text. 



182 — REFLECTIONS 



MY DARKEST SECRET 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



So you really 
Want to know 
My darkest secret, 
Even though 

It is a secret 
I have kept 
For many years 
And never slept 

Without first asking 
Myself, too, 
"What is it?" How 
I wish I knew! 

What is the secret 
Deep inside 
That even from 
Myself I hide? 

What did I do 
To make it so 
Extremely difficult 
To know? 

Or did I fail 
To do some things 
And that is what 
My sadness brings? 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 183 



I cannot tell 
Just what I did, 
Or did not do 
And from me hid. 

Perhaps my secret 
Is so dark 
That it no memory 
In me will spark. 

Perhaps it's buried 
Deep inside 
Because it's not 
A cause for pride. 

So please, my friend, 
Don't ask me for 
My secret since 
I'll you ignore. 



184 — REFLECTIONS 



MY REGRETS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



As I look back 
Upon my days 
Here on this earth, 
Recall the maze 

Of things I did 
And did not do, 
What I regret most - 
This is true - 

Is not what I did 
In my prime, 
But what I failed to 
Do in time. 

There were a few 
Mistakes I made. 
I did wrong things 
I can't evade, 

While growing up, 
Before I learned 
What's right and wrong, 
Which my life turned. 

Compared to what 
I did not do, 
Wrong things I did 
Were very few. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 185 



So let me speak 
Of what I failed 
To do so I could 
Pass the grade. 

I failed to serve 
My country when 
It needed me 
As it did men. 

I failed to heed 
My neighbors' calls 
For me to join them 
In their halls. 

I failed my friends 
Who wanted me 
To spend my time 
With them carefree. 

I always heard 
My own bell toll; 
Doing my work 
Was my life's goal. 

Above all else 
I most regret 
Those I loved most 
I failed to let 

Know how I felt 
About them then 
And will still feel 
Until the end. 



186 — REFLECTIONS 



For while I heard 
My own bell toll 
I loved my family, 
One and all, 

So let them know 
This my regret 
That I was silent 
Ere my sun set. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 187 



LEGALLY BLIND 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I went to a doctor 

The other day. 

My old glasses were useless 

'Cause there was no way 

I could see with them, reading, 
As I need to do, 
What was written by others, 
And my own writings, too. 

The doctor was new to me 
And well recommended. 
I had a ride there 
'Cause I wisely suspended 

My own driving completely 
About one year ago 
After an accident 
That made me forego 

My own car forever 
Since I couldn't even see 
That a car was parked where 
I didn't expect it to be. 

The eye doctor's office 
Was spacious and clean. 
Many patients were waiting 
By him to be seen. 



188 — REFLECTIONS 



I filled out the forms 
With the help of the gal 
Who sat at the window, 
And also her pal, 

Since I couldn't decipher 
The very small font 
That was used on the forms 
Which to fill out I'd want. 

At last I was ushered 

Into a small room 

Where I was asked questions 

Designed, I assume, 

To let the new doctor 
Know my medications, 
And allergies, if any, 
As is done with new patients. 

At last came the doctor. 
He shook then my hand 
And examined my eyes, 
And in a tone that was bland 

Said, "Now, have you ever 
Let the State know 
That you're legally blind?" 
What he said was a blow 

Not only in substance 
But the way it was said. 
For a moment I felt that 
I'd rather be dead! 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 189 



"Legally blind"? I wondered. 
What does that mean? 
Will I soon be unable 
To see what I've seen? 

Nature? And people? 
And my own home and things? 
To read? And to write? 
And select pretty rings 

To wear on my fingers 
And match any clothes 
I might choose to put on, 
And my shoes and my hose? 

I thought my new doc 
Was out of his mind. 
I figured a new doc 
I'd soon try to find, 

Who'd be gentler with me 
In his diagnosis, 
And make me feel better 
About my prognosis. 

Yet I was encouraged 
By the fact that the doc 
Prescribed brand new glasses 
Despite my great shock, 

And then I remembered 
That an ostrich I'm not, 
And that facing bad news 
Is what I've certainly got 



190 — REFLECTIONS 



To do, and continue 
To just do my best 
With the vision I have 
Till I go to my rest. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 191 



WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

What is it that I will 

Leave after I'm gone? 

What treasures? What wealth 

When my last breath I've drawn? 

When I look all around me 
And notice my treasure 
Of clothes, bags and shoes, 
Scarves and jewels beyond measure, 

Or I peek in my bank book 
And think I can save 
Far more than I'll spend 
If I only behave, 

I know these are trifles 
I'm leaving behind 
To those whom I love most 
In all of mankind. 

Adornments and funds 
Are not my true measure. 
What I leave behind 
Will give far greater pleasure. 

I'll leave loads of books 
I've read cover to cover, 
And household effects 
It was fun to discover. 



192 — REFLECTIONS 



There are tables and chairs 
And sofas galore, 
And dressers so spacious 
One would never need more. 

There are tools and findings, 
Equipment quite new, 
A computer, a printer, 
Scanner, fax machine, too. 

But none of these things 
Is indeed my true measure. 
What I leave behind 
Will give far greater pleasure. 

There are artworks I did 
And stories I wrote, 
Plays, lyrics and poems 
Of which people took note. 

But that's not what I think 
Is the greatest of all 
The treasures I'll leave 
When I exit this ball. 

Let my children remember 
How much I loved them 
And the children they had, 
Each of whom is a gem. 

What is it that I will 
Leave after I'm gone? 
It's the love that I'll give 
Till my last breath is drawn. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 193 



ACCOMPLISHMENT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Now that I'm old 

And take the time 

To look back on my life, 

I wonder what, 
In all my years 
Of endless toil and strife, 

I can declare 

With immense pride 

As something great I did, 

Not just for me, 
But for this world 
Since I was just a kid. 

I must confess 

I find it hard 

To zero in on one 

Of the array 

Of things I did, 

And say which of them won 

For I wrote books, 
And many plays, 
And musicals to boot, 

And poems, 

Many lyrics, too, 

Some of them quite a hoot. 



194 — REFLECTIONS 



I painted using oils 

And then 

I used acrylics, too, 

And then from fabrics 

And some thread 

Made wall hangings to view. 

I worked in metal 
And in stone, 
Creating 3-D art, 

Mosaics and 

Ceramics, too, 

With which I wouldn't part. 

But are these things 

In truth, I ask, 

My greatest legacy? 

Is that creative 

Spark I had 

And all that fantasy 

My greatest gift 
And contribution 
In my life on earth? 

Or was it something 

More mundane, 

Like giving others birth, 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 195 



And raising them, 

And loving them, 

And giving them a chance 

To do what they will 

With their lives, 

Just walk or really dance? 

For what we do 

Is limited, 

No matter what we've tried 

The future is 

Wide open yet. 

Our offspring are our pride. 



196 — REFLECTIONS 



IF YOU REMEMBER ME 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



If you were to recall 
I was once given birth, 
If you would then remember 
I lived on this earth, 

I hope you don't dwell 
On the way I appeared, 
My gray eyes, Grecian nose, 
My light hair closely sheared, 

My tall stature, long legs, 
The way that I moved, 
My smile when of others 
I warmly approved, 

Or the way that I looked 
In my elegant clothes, 
And my jewels to match, 
And my shoes and my hose. 

If you ever recall me 
Long after I'm gone, 
Just think of my spirit 
From its early dawn. 

I hope that you do not 
Dwell on those trifles 
Like my grades and degrees 
And honors and prizes, 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 197 



Those outwardly symbols 
Of status and charm 
Which may simple people 
Quite simply disarm. 

Don't think of my mind 
Sharpened by training 
In schools by great teachers 
Too many for naming. 

Remember that I used 
My trained mind to serve 
All those whom my heart 
Warmed to with great verve. 

If you ever recall me 
Long after I'm gone, 
Just think of my spirit 
From its early dawn. 

For the way that I wish 
To be thought of by you 
Is for my heart that led me 
To serve what is true: 

Love of family and friends, 
Whether here or long gone, 
Love of fellow man, 
Which made me go on 

Creating my artworks 
And writing my plays, 
Books, poems and lyrics 
To the end of my days. 



198 — REFLECTIONS 



Remember my heart, 
Which shepherded me 
Through all of life's turmoil 
And then set me free. 



Poems and Lyrics: Looking Back — 199 



POEMS AND LYRICS 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 201 



SODOM 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

I thought You were 
A loving God, 
Caring, giving 
And unflawed. 

I trusted You, 
But now I see 
That what I thought 
May not so be. 

A God who is just 
Would not allow 
The innocent 
To die. 

If there are fifty 
Righteous people, 
Will You still 
Destroy Sodom? 

What if five 
Are lacking 
From the fifty? 
Will you recant? 

A God who is just 
Would not allow 
The innocent 
To die. 



202 — REFLECTIONS 



What if there are 
Forty 

Upright ones 
In Sodom? 

What if thirty 
Good people 
Are found 
Within its walls? 

A God who is just 
Would not allow 
The innocent 
To die. 

What if there are 
Twenty 
Moral people 
Found in Sodom? 

And what if only 
Ten innocents 
Are found 
Within its bounds? 

A God who is just 
Cannot allow 
The innocent 
To die! 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 203 



ENDLESS WAR 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Have you ever wondered 
Why there's no end to war, 
Why young men go to battle 
Though they'll die by the score, 

Why mankind cannot travel 
The road to rebirth, 
Put an end to bloodshed 
And bring peace on earth? 

When I think of the wars 
That young men have fought 
From man's early days, 
And the mayhem they brought, 

All the wounding and killing, 
The places burned down, 
And the rape and the torture 
That should grown men astound; 

When I ponder the pain, 
All the heartache wars brought, 
Not only to those who 
Themselves in wars fought, 

But to loved ones they left 
When they set out to find 
Some glory or treasure 
For those left behind; 



204 — REFLECTIONS 



I ask: Why does man 
Keep fighting those wars? 
Why does mankind kill 
Its young by the scores? 

When I fathom the great things 
Men could have accomplished 
If they were not killed 
And their dreams thus demolished, 

All the music, the art, 
The writings and more 
They could have created 
For us to explore, 

And inventions and new ways 
Of looking at things, 
And plans and great projects 
Us rapture could bring, 

I think that the best men 
Were lost in a war. 
The loss of their minds 
And their hearts I deplore. 

I ask: Why does man 
Keep fighting those wars? 
Why does mankind kill 
Its young by the scores? 

I know then why men 
Have never been able 
To end war forever, 
Lead lives that are stable, 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 205 



Why the answer that's needed 
Has never been found 
And man's wars continue 
And always abound. 

I think that the answer 

Is quite simply this: 

The young men who perished - 

And their offspring we miss - 

Are nowhere around. 
They were lost in some war. 
They can't solve wars' problem. 
Thus we'll always have more. 

Have you ever wondered 
Why there's no end to war, 
Why young men go to battle 
Though they'll die by the score, 

Why mankind cannot travel 
The road to rebirth, 
Put an end to bloodshed 
And bring peace on earth? 

It's because we have lost 
Our bravest and best. 
They perished in battle 
And now in graves rest. 

If they were still here 

And their young had been born, 

They'd figure out how 

To create man's new morn. 



206 — REFLECTIONS 



IN THE NAME OF GOD 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



If you have the answer 
Please do let me know 
Why God permits man 
In His name to blow 
A fellow man's chance 
At life on this earth, 
Implying that God 
Believes life has no worth. 

As I look back and ponder 
The history of man, 
A history that centuries 
And millennia does span, 

And reflect on the mayhem 
That mankind has wrought 
On its own kind in all those 
Great wars that man fought 

In the name of a God 
Who is said to be kind 
And as loving and giving 
As any you'd find; 

When I think of a great God 
Supposedly all-knowing 
So He's surely aware 
Of the disdain man is showing 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 207 



Toward His goodness, proclaiming 
God's name time and again 
While killing fellow humans 
And thus His good name stain, 

I wonder why God, 
In His infinite power, 
Allows man to be free 
To kill and not cower, 

And do so in the name 
Of a God who should see 
That His very own honor 
To abuse man feels free. 

If you have the answer 
Please do let me know 
Why God permits man 
In His name to blow 
A fellow man's chance 
At life on this earth, 
Implying that God 
Believes life has no worth. 

Why does God not stop 
All that mayhem that's done, 
For His unbounded glory? 
Is God thus having fun? 

Why does He allow 
The use of His name 
"Allahu Akbar" and others 
That men do proclaim? 



208 — REFLECTIONS 



A God who's truly loving, 
And all-knowing, too, 
Would use His great power 
To impose a taboo 

On men ever using 
His sacred Godly name 
To destroy one another 
While great faith they proclaim, 

If you have the answer 
Please do let me know 
Why God permits man 
In His name to blow 
A fellow man's chance 
At life on this earth, 
Implying that God 
Believes life has no worth. 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 209 



IN THE MILITARY CEMETERY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Through the large stone gate I walked, 
In the dead of night, 
To visit his stone grave once more, 
And do so out of sight. 

I brought with me a big bouquet 
Of flowers he did love: 
Daffodils and poppies, too, 
For me to place above 

His grave, to let him know how much 

I miss him every day, 

And will miss him until I die, 

And love him come what may. 

I had been there time and again, 
But never in the dark. 
I did not know how to locate 
His grave. I saw no mark. 

There were so many graves around, 
All topped by big white stones. 
I wondered: Did white represent 
The fallen soldiers' bones? 

Or did the white stones indicate 

The soldiers' innocence? 

They were so young when they were killed. 

They never had a chance. 



210 — REFLECTIONS 



I walked between rows of white graves. 
They all looked the same, 
And in the dark I could not read 
Inscription, date or name. 

But did it matter, then I thought, 
Just where indeed I stop? 
All the young men buried there 
Were the cream of the crop 

Of the dear land for which they fought 
And shed their blood, and then 
Became the fathers, brothers, sons, 
Whom we mourn to the end. 

I stopped at a white grave beside 
The long stone path I took, 
But in the dark I could not read 
The name, though I did look. 

I placed my flowers on the grave 
And cried and said a prayer 
For all the soldiers now interred 
Who for us did care 

Enough to give up all they had. 
They left us here to cry 
Over the losses we sustained 
When each of them did die. 

Ask not what grave your dear one has 
In that big field of stone, 
Where our soldiers lie entombed, 
Each of them all alone. 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 211 



For they're all ours, yours and mine. 
They did all in their power. 
So cry for all and say a prayer 
And lay at least a flower. 



212 — REFLECTIONS 



THE BLANKET 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What drew me to go 
To the graveyard 
That day? 

Was it the gray sky? 
I don't know. 
I can't say. 

They brought 
A dead soldier 
That cold rainy day, 

To bury him in 
A deep grave, 
Where he'd stay, 

Although I could tell 
That the grave 
Was so cold 

No human 

Would like it, 

Not young and not old. 

No others had come 
To the graveyard 
That day 

To greet 

The young soldier 

Who died far away, 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 213 



Except for myself 
And the 
Gravediggers two, 

Who had dug 

Quite deep 

But were now through. 

As they laid 
His dead body 
In the deep grave, 

I thought 

The dead soldier 

Might indeed crave 

To be 

Kindly treated, 

As if someone cared, 

Be kept warm and dry 
In the grave 
They prepared. 

So while those 
Gravediggers 
Filled up the grave 

With large wet 

Clumps of earth 

That for this they saved, 



214 — REFLECTIONS 



I ran home and got 
A nice blanket 
To spread 

Over the grave, 
Keep him warm 
Although dead. 

The gravediggers 
Stared at me 
As if I was crazy, 

But that didn't 

Phase me 'cause 

I thought they were lazy 

And should have 
Themselves tried 
To keep him warm 

When the rain 
Was so fierce 
In the midst of a storm. 

What drew me to go 
To the graveyard 
That day? 

Was it the gray sky? 
I don't know. 
I can't say. 

It was strange that 

Right after 

The blanket was spread, 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 215 



The skies cleared, 

And the sun 

Was shining instead. 

I thought that 
Perhaps 
Somewhere up high 

My message was heard: 
Keep the dead 
Warm and dry. 



216 — REFLECTIONS 



DYING YOUNG 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

The worst part of dying 
When you're a teen 
Is not that you'd never 
Be more than you've been. 

It's not that you missed 
A long time on earth, 
Or even those landmarks 
Of marriage and birth, 

But rather that you never 
Had any chance 
To tell to mankind 
What you saw at a glance, 

What you felt in your heart, 
What you knew in your brain, 
That the world is sort of 
Like a long death-train 

That goes speeding on, 
But misses its rails, 
And falls off the track, 
And havoc prevails, 

And people get killed, 

And a fierce fire burns, 

And nobody knows 

What went wrong and one learns 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 217 



That it happened before 
And will happen again, 
And nobody stops 
That speeding death-train. 

The worst part of dying 
When you're a teen 
Is not that you'd never 
Be more than you've been. 

It's not that you missed 
A long time on earth, 
Or even those landmarks 
Of marriage and birth, 

But rather that you never 
Had any chance 
To tell to mankind 
What you saw at a glance, 

What you felt in your heart, 
What you knew in your brain, 
That the world is sort of 
Like a long death-train. 



218 — REFLECTIONS 



LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Like sheep to the slaughter 
The victims all went. 
Men, women and children 
In neat lines were sent 

To places where they would 
Be made to undress, 
And dig their own graves, 
And be shot there, unless 

They died on the road 
As they walked all those miles, 
Men, women and children 
In those long neat files. 

Why did our people 
Not struggle and fight? 
Why so obedient 
To power and might? 

Why did our brethren 
Just simply obey 
Those beastly commands, 
And then become prey? 

Was it blindness to evil, 
Though they saw it quite bare? 
Was it faith that God knew 
And would hasten to spare 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 219 



His very own people, 
Who all their lives prayed, 
And kept faith, and loved Him, 
And Him always obeyed? 

Like sheep to the slaughter 
The victims all went. 
Men, women and children 
In huge numbers were sent 

To camps where they would 
Be made to undress, 
And enter gas chambers 
And be killed there, unless 

They died even before 
They got to be gassed, 
Of starvation, brutality 
And all else that passed. 

Why did our people 
Not struggle and fight? 
Why so obedient 
To power and might? 

Why did our brethren 
Just simply obey 
Those beastly commands, 
And then become prey? 

Was it blindness to evil, 
Though they saw it quite bare? 
Was it faith that God knew 
And would hasten to spare 



220 — REFLECTIONS 



His very own people, 
Who all their lives prayed, 
And kept faith, and loved Him, 
And Him never betrayed? 

When our loved ones 
Were burned 
In huge ovens 
Out there, 

And through tall 
Stacks of smoke 
They turned 
Right into air, 

When our families 
Became nothing 
But ashes 
And smoke, 

Did God think 
That it was 
No more 
Than a joke? 

Why? 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 221 



RED, GRAY AND BLACK 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

What color was the Holocaust? 
How does an artist express the pain 
Without words, without sounds, 
Without an audible refrain? 

First by red for blood and fire. 
Red for the blood of innocents. 
Red for the fire that burned so many, 
Old and young, behind a barbed fence. 

What color was the Holocaust? 
How does an artist express the pain 
Without words, without sounds, 
Without an audible refrain? 

Gray. Gray for that state of being 

Between life and death. 

Gray for the state of despair, 

Of losing hope and losing faith and losing breath. 

What color was the Holocaust? 
How does an artist express the pain 
Without words, without sounds, 
Without an audible refrain? 

Yes, black for the absence that prevailed. 
Black for the absence of love. 
Black for the lack of compassion, 
The lack of God's mercy from above. 



222 — REFLECTIONS 



Black for the darkness of man's soul 

As human beings were gassed and burned 

By fellow human beings 

And into black smoke were turned. 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 223 



MOM, I MISS YOU 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

I thought that moms are here to stay. 
I figured God made them to not go away, 

To care for their family as their youngsters grow, 
To stand by their side and let them know 

That attachment, that bond that only moms feel, 
And impart to their kids that closeness for real. 

Why were you taken from me, dearest Mom? 
Did God call your name and ask you to come 

To His Heaven, to be by His side on a throne, 
To watch me, to guide me, to lead me on? 

I love you, dear Mom, as I have since my birth. 
I miss you. I need you right here on earth. 



224 — REFLECTIONS 



ON NINE-ELEVEN 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

She was taken from me 
On a bright, sunny day, 
With the skies so blue 
And the sun so gay 

At the prospect of lighting 
The path for us all 
To work and to play 
And to answer love's call, 

When suddenly flew 
Those two planes from nowhere, 
And crashed into towers 
That stood unaware 

That on a bright day 
Skies could darken and melt 
With the steel and the stone 
And the shudder they felt. 

And the people burned 
In that blazing fire, 
Men and women crushed 
In that grotesque pyre, 

Fathers and mothers, 
Sons, daughters, too, 
And brothers and sisters 
And grandchildren new, 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 225 



Firemen, police, workers, 
Bystanders, drowned 
In the falling debris 
And the smoke all around. 

And my loved one just gone, 
Without a trace disappeared, 
As if she had never 
Been here, and I feared 

To be left alone 
Without her all the time, 
To live all my life 
With no reason or rhyme. 

But she gave me a son, 
And he now fills my days, 
And my thoughts and my heart 
And my hopes and my prayers. 

She gave me a son, 
And through him she still gives. 
My dear wife is here with us both, 
She still lives! 



226 — REFLECTIONS 



THE FINGER OF GOD 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When I learn a soldier's fallen 
In some far off field of war, 
When I know a mother's grieving 
With others who him did adore, 

When I think of that strange fate 
That makes some die while others live, 
I wonder why our God in Heaven 
Only to some will blessings give. 

How does God choose those who should fall 
While others He spares, one and all? 

Why does He point to some and say, 
"You will not live another day!" 

Is it some cruel, deliberate act 
That God does, while He, in fact, 

Destroys what He Himself created, 
As if our young ones should be slated 

To be sacrificed on altars and 

Do so in a strange and far-off land? 

Did God command you not to go 
To war and thus then not to throw 

Your life upon an altar far, 
Where you would be a fallen star? 



Poems and Lyrics: Death — 227 



Or did God's finger point to you 
And decide what you should do, 

Like a cruel Nazi officer 

Who pointed "Right!" and "Left!" somewhere 

And ordered people then to die 
Just on his say, not telling why? 

When I learn a soldier's fallen 
In some far off field of war, 
When I know a mother's grieving 
With others who him did adore, 

When I think of that strange fate 
That makes some die while others live, 
I wonder why our God in Heaven 
Only to some will blessings give. 



228 — REFLECTIONS 



POEMS AND LYRICS 

HUMAN fomet 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 229 



HOW ARE YOU? 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

If perchance someone ever 
Inquires, "How are you?" 
Do consider who's asking 
And what they ask, too. 

Chances are you're not really 
Being asked about your health 
Any more than you'd be asked 
About the state of your wealth. 

"How are you?" is a greeting, 
And not often a question 
About your body's condition, 
In any form or fashion. 

I once knew a woman 

Who from the first day 

I met her and asked, 

"How are you?" she would say 

That one part of her body 
Is feeling quite sore, 
While another is swollen, 
And, what's even more, 

A third part of her body 

Feels so very flushed 

That she is quite sure 

Too much blood in there rushed. 



230 — REFLECTIONS 



Another part of her body 
Is feeling so tender 
She's sure some mean virus 
Is the true offender, 

And then there's a part 
Of her body so aching 
She can barely stand 
Being seated while taking 

Her tea with some crumpets 
Each afternoon, 
Which causes her blood sugar 
To shoot up to the moon. 

And then, don't forget 
That her knees are so painful 
She can hardly walk 
In a way that is gainful, 

And her fingers are so swollen 
That they wouldn't bend, 
So she has lots of trouble, 
From beginning to end, 

In holding those things 
She would normally hold, 
Or writing some letters 
To friends who are old. 

She would go on and on 
Describing each ailment, 
Until I felt faint. 
This was no entertainment! 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 231 



Well, at last I became 

So wise as to know 

I shouldn't ask, "How are you?" 

But say, simply, "Hello!" 

Lest the people I greet 
Think I'm really inquiring 
About the state of their health, 
Which is rarely inspiring. 

If perchance someone ever 
Inquires, "How are you?" 
Do consider who's asking 
And what they ask, too. 

Chances are you're not really 
Being asked about your health 
Any more than you'd be asked 
About the state of your wealth. 

For "How are you?" is a greeting, 
And not often a question 
About your body's condition, 
In any form or fashion. 



232 — REFLECTIONS 



GOOD HEALTH 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

There's a woman I have known 
Who puzzled me, when on the phone 

I spoke to her from time to time, 

When we were both well past our prime. 

If I told her just how well 

I feel and hope she does as well, 

She let me know that in her view 
What I said could not be true. 

She said my diet is all wrong, 
Reciting an extremely long 

List of foods that are okay 

And which are not, so I should stay 

Away from those there on her list 
Of foods that I should now resist. 

She said I should be eating just 
Those healthy foods that are a must 

For someone who is old like us 
And wants to live on without fuss, 

To remain healthy, strong and sound, 
And with great energy abound. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 233 



But as we talked, she let me know 
How tired she feels, and that she's slow 

To get herself right out of bed 
And do the chores that lie ahead. 

When I implied perhaps she should 
See a doc who surely would 

Examine her and let her know 
What's wrong with her to make her so 

Exhausted all the time although 
She got a full night's sleep and so 

Should feel quite fully rested and 
On her feet should surely stand, 

She said she has no faith in docs. 
They are just charlatans and crocks. 

She knows, she said, much more than they, 
And her own insight won't betray. 

When I suggested medication, 
She told me tales of devastation 

Suffered by her from a breed 

That pursues nothing but great greed. 

There was no way I could convince 
My friend, despite all, to evince 

An interest in seeking assistance 

From those who learn with great persistence. 

234 — REFLECTIONS 



She really thought she knew it all: 
Things very large and also small. 

So sure was she that she was right, 
That none could save her from her plight. 

I have not spoken to her now 

In many moons because, somehow, 

Although she knew so very much 
About good health and docs and such, 

She passed away before I did, 
And left me pondering a breed 

That knows all there is to know 
About good health, and then they go. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 235 



KNOWLEDGE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I know an old woman 
Who prides herself on 
The scope of her knowledge 
(Which I find a big yawn). 

Whenever we speak - 
And our chats I keep rare - 
She tells me of people 
Whom she would not care 

To consider as worthy 
And fit to be friends 
With the likes of herself 
'Cause to brilliance she tends. 

Do these others, like her, 
Several languages know, 
Aside from just English, 
Or is their brain simply slow? 

Can they tell the capital 
Of Somalia or Spain? 
Can they the history 
Of Moldavia explain? 

How many books 
Have they read in their life? 
Anywhere near the thousands 
That she did without strife? 



236 — REFLECTIONS 



How many concerts 
Have they attended? 
Do they know who wrote 
The symphony unended? 

How many museums 
Have they frequented, 
And thus with great masters 
Themselves got acquainted? 

Do they read the papers 

Day in and day out 

So they'll be familiar 

With what's happening about? 

Do they ever Google 
A given expression, 
Or e-mail to others 
In updated fashion? 

Are they familiar 
With use of computers? 
Or do they go through life 
Simply as commuters? 

On and on this old woman 
Spews out her disdain 
For plain folk like us 
Who at least have the brain 

To know human knowledge 
Takes many a form 
And that to this woman's standards 
No one needs to conform. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 237 



I wonder why someone 
Self-described as all-knowing 
Spends much of her time 
Berating, thus showing 

Her own lack of knowledge 
Of what knowledge should be 
So to pursue diverse goals 
Man can be truly free. 



238 — REFLECTIONS 



MEMORY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I know an old woman 
Who keeps on bragging 
Her memory's so sharp 
That it never is lagging. 

Since she is my age, 
I envied her greatly 
Because my own memory 
Has sagged somewhat lately. 

Now, she always tells me 
How brilliant she was 
Even when little 
And had, as one does, 

To memorize strange words 
In some foreign tongue, 
Or a part in a play 
Or a song to be sung, 

How she always remembered 
Whatever's at hand, 
And still does to this day 
To beat the band. 

She keeps on repeating 
How her mind is so keen 
She recalls every place 
Where she's ever been, 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 239 



Every book she has read, 
Every movie and play, 
Every concert attended, 
Needless to say. 

I have heard many times 
About all of her kin, 
Her mother and father 
And siblings who'd win 

Every prize in the book 
For their great brilliance, too, 
Grandparents deceased 
To whom accolades are due. 

Time and again 

I have heard of her mate 

And her kids, whose keen minds 

One cannot overrate, 

And then she goes back 
And tells me once more 
About her own mind 
And the wealth it can store. 

I really did envy 
This woman who's bragging 
About her keen mind, 
And how it's never lagging. 

But then came a day 
When once more I heard 
One of her tales and 
Something in me stirred, 



240 — REFLECTIONS 



And I thought: If she really 
Has such a sharp brain, 
Why does she repeat things 
Again and again? 

How come she just cannot 
Remember her own 
Past statements that I 
Now remember alone? 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 241 



VANITY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

I know a woman who's quite old. 
Her mind is keen, or so I'm told, 
Although her body has now aged, 
As bodies do at this late stage. 

I used to see her years ago, 
When as schoolmates we did know 
Each other while we would play 
In the school yard on a nice day. 

She often calls me on the phone. 
I ask her how she fares alone. 
I'm old myself, and so I know 
That with old age, all systems go. 

But then when I speak to this friend, 
I simply cannot comprehend 
Her grandiose tales, which she repeats 
As she recounts her latest feats: 

How many miles she's walked today, 
And all the men who smiled her way. 
How when she meets someone she knew 
While she was young, and gorgeous, too, 

They have no trouble knowing who 
She is because, in her own view, 
She's hardly changed in all these years. 
She looks so young, unlike her peers. 



242 — REFLECTIONS 



She even told me, more than once, 
That if she's out at night by chance, 
Old friends she hasn't seen in years 
Will greet her with abundant cheers 

Although by then it is quite dark, 
Because she's never lost her spark. 
Her hair's still red, and color-fast. 
Her hips still slim, as in the past. 

Her bust is still full, firm and out, 
Since she is very trim, not stout 
Like all those dumpy women there 
Who let their bodies age, and care 

About nothing while they themselves stuff 
With food, and then believe the bluff 
That they are fine, attractive, too, 
Although disgusting in her view. 

Of course her eyes are still a green 
That makes her look just like a queen. 
Her posture, too, is so erect 
That her age no one suspects. 

She is so healthy that one front tooth 
Is still as bright as in her youth. 
Her stomach's firm. There is no bulge, 
So she can now herself indulge 

Not in dessert or other sweets, 
But in proclaiming she can't be beat. 
Her legs are quite muscular, 
But, unlike men's, spectacular, 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 243 



Because despite their definition 
They are feminine in apparition. 
Her arms are also good and strong. 
She can lay carpets and move along 

Piles of wood and tiles, too. 
To make her home as good as new. 
Her mind, she says, is so intact 
That she remembers all. in fact. 

She learned at school so long ago. 
And this. too. she will have me know. 
Her language skills are still as they 
Were long ago. They didn't fall prey. 

To the vicissitudes of time. 
Because her memory is so sublime. 
She still remembers books she read 
When just a child and doesn"t dread 

Forgetting even a slight detail. 
Because her brilliance will prevail. 
I can ! t recall when I last saw 
This woman. who"s without a flaw. 

But if I asked for us to meet. 
She'd be reluctant and retreat, 
"Cause if we meet with her permission 
That would reveal her true condition. 

Perhaps she is as good as new. 
And my suspicions are untrue. 
Yet till I see her once again. 
I will have doubts and some disdain. 



244 — REFLECTIONS 



SHOP AND SHOP 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Shop, shop, shop! 
That is my fate. 
I shop quite early 
And when it's late. 

I shop at stores 
And internet. 
It makes no difference 
Where I get 

The things I crave 
And in fact buy. 
Things make me happy, 
And that's no lie. 

Some things I buy I really need, 
Like healthy food my kids to feed. 

I get their clothes, and school supplies, 
And other things for kids one buys. 

But, beyond that, I shop for things 
I do not need. For instance, rings 

That have a sparkly stone quite round, 
And look like treasures someone found. 

I shop for necklaces galore, 

Some long, some short, and, what is more, 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 245 



For earrings that would match these things, 
And make it seem my body sings 

With a fine tune of harmony, 
And I'm a walking symphony. 

Of course my clothes have got to match 
My jewels, or myself I catch 

Before I step outside my door 

To let the world see what's in store. 

My clothes always match my jewels. 
I like to watch how one friend drools 

When she sees me at a store 

And says, "Hello!" and nothing more. 

I wish you'd see how strangers peek. 
They know I am the Queen of Chic. 

My handbags always match my clothes, 
And harmonize with shoes and hose. 

I would not dream of wearing flats. 
High heels are what I don, and hats, 

Just like a stunning movie star 
That can be spotted from afar. 

I did not mention, but now I will, 
The scarves a lady dressed to kill 

Must wear, and pins those scarves to hold, 
Or grace a coat whose style is bold. 

246 — REFLECTIONS 



And don't forget, there's makeup, too. 
Foundation, creams, eye liners blue, 

Mascaras, lipsticks, and much more 
I buy so life won't be a bore. 

Shop, shop, shop! 
That is my fate. 
I shop quite early 
And when it's late. 

I shop at stores 
And internet. 
It makes no difference 
Where I get 

The things I crave 
And in fact buy. 
Things make me happy, 
And that's no lie. 

When I am home, sick with a cold, 
So going out would be too bold, 

Or late at night, when I can't sleep, 
And need my shopping pace to keep, 

I simply turn my TV on, 

And shop away from then till dawn. 

There are now channels aimed just for 
Those like me, who crave for more 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 247 



Excitement in their daily lives, 
And so to shop they always strive. 

Clothes on TV look really neat, 
Worn by models who can't be beat 

Because they look so very nice 

In clothes that might cost twice the price. 

Those clothes are flowy, and they come 
In gorgeous colors: purple, plum, 

And blue and turquoise and in green, 
And red and white and pink between. 

And don't forget that basic black 
Which in my wardrobe I like to stack. 

I then go order more than one 
Of each great style TV has spun, 

And I'm content they will arrive 

By truck real soon. No need to drive! 

Sometimes I feel I've overdone 
Myself in ordering clothes for fun, 

And I could cancel, if in doubt, 
Before my order has shipped out. 

But once I order, I don't regret 
Those pretty things are coming yet. 

They are so lovely, and will fill 
My heart with joy. Oh, what a thrill! 

248 — REFLECTIONS 



How great it is to live today, 
When you can lie in bed, let's say, 

And yet go shopping as if you're out, 
And no one knows what you're about. 

Shop, shop, shop! 
That is my fate. 
I shop quite early 
And when it's late. 

I shop at stores 
And internet. 
It makes no difference 
Where I get 

The things I crave 
And in fact buy. 
Things make me happy, 
And that's no lie. 

I still recall when I was hitched, 
And bought a find. I quickly switched 

Into old clothes, and hid my buy 
Deep in the closet so that my guy 

Would suspect nothing, and would think 
I am quite thrifty, with him in sync. 

I'd later pull the item out, 
Explaining it was old, no doubt. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 249 



I don't just shop for personal things. 
I go to stores from which I bring 

Some lovely items for my home, 
Like napkin holders made of chrome, 

And crystal, china, and even more 
Sparkly things I just adore. 

I must confess, I sometimes buy 
Things for a friend, but then I try 

To picture giving it away, 

And simply can't, so it will stay. 

I buy these things although by now 
My house is full. I don't know how 

I can fit in another thing. 

My closets burst with all that bling! 

Although I work, I cannot save. 
My paycheck goes for what I crave. 

Sometimes I fear what's there in store 
For someone craving more and more. 

But please remember: I can't stop. 
I truly live to shop and shop. 

Shop, shop, shop! 
That is my fate. 
I shop quite early 
And when it's late. 



250 — REFLECTIONS 



I shop at stores 
And internet. 
It makes no difference 
Where I get 

The things I crave 
And in fact buy. 
Things make me happy, 
And that's no lie. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 251 



STOOD UP 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

My suitcase was all packed that day 
I planned with you to get away, 

Planned it though I wasn't sure 
A single girl who's quite demure 

Should really do such daring things 
That on her obloquy might bring. 

We picked a great romantic spot. 
I let you choose, 'cause I was not 

Familiar with those grand retreats 
Which new couples who're in heat 

Go away to and cool off 

Out of sight of those who'd scoff 

At a young couple so in love, 
Thus truly blessed by God above. 

I looked right out 
My window then, 
Hoping to see 
Your car, as planned, 
To see you walking 
Toward my door 
So I could show you 
What's in store. 



252 — REFLECTIONS 



My suitcase was a pretty shade 
Of royal blue, its hardware made 

Of brass that would gleam in the dark 
When on our journey we embark. 

The best of things I packed inside. 
My suitcase is stuffed with what a bride 

Would carry with her when she goes 
With her new hubby and she blows 

A fortune on her wardrobe then, 
Not only outer clothes for when 

She and her hubby have a break 
From their love fest and they take 

A stroll on the shore by the sea 
Before returning for more glee. 

I looked right out 
My window then, 
Hoping to see 
Your car, as planned, 
To see you walking 
Toward my door 
So I could show you 
What's in store. 

Some outer clothes I indeed packed, 
But much more in my suitcase stacked: 

New panties that are all pastels 
And bras to match which no one sells 

Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 253 



Except the very best of shops 
That carry underwear that pops. 

I packed a pretty nightie, too, 
In case I felt I wanted to 

Play coy and pretty hard to get 
With you, a guy whom I'd just met. 

And so much more I packed inside 
The suitcase, as if I were a bride, 

Mouth wash, creams, and great perfume 
That smells like flowers still in bloom, 

But now it seemed you would not come. 
I took a last look and then was mum. 

I looked right out 
My window then, 
Hoping to see 
Your car, as planned, 
To see you walking 
Toward my door 
So I could show you 
What's in store. 

I wonder why you did not come. 
I think that you were quite dumb 

To forego a nice girl like me, 

Who might your bride some day be. 



254 — REFLECTIONS 



I know your type. So, never mind. 
You are undoubtedly the kind 

That has feelings for no one 
Except yourself when day is done. 

So please don't call. Just stay away. 
There will soon be a brand new day. 

I'll use the suitcase then, you bet. 
Another guy will want me yet, 

A smarter guy, who digs my worth, 
And senses I'm a jewel on earth. 

The things I packed were not in vain. 
A rainbow comes after the rain. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 255 



YOUR CALL 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



In vain I waited 
For your call 
That chilly night 
In early fall. 

I sat at home then, 
All alone, 
Right on my chair 
Beside the phone. 

I saw the clock 
Ticking away 
The minutes, hours, 
As if at play. 

But as I waited 
For your call, 
Watching the clock 
There on the wall, 

My mind was very 
Far away. 
I thought of things 
I heard you say 

The night before, 
When we embraced, 
And in the morning, 
When you placed 



256 — REFLECTIONS 



Your arms around 
And held me tight 
And whispered, 
"I will call tonight." 

How many hours 
Has it been 
I've waited for 
The phone to ring? 

Perhaps I should 
Be calling you? 
What's your number? 
Wish I knew! 

We only met 
That very day, 
Quite by chance, 
In a cafe. 

You took me home. 
I asked you in. 
And so our love fest 
Did begin. 

I can't believe 
You wouldn't call! 
It was such fun! 
We had a ball! 

There is no way 
You wouldn't wish 
For more of this 
Delicious dish! 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 257 



How many hours 
Has it been 
I've waited for 
The phone to ring? 

But maybe others 
You prefer, 
With narrow hips 
And lighter hair? 

Perhaps we're simply 
Not a match 
Although I'm a 
Terrific catch. 

Or maybe you go, 
Like a bee, 
From flower to flower 
With greatest glee. 

So maybe when 
You left my bed 
Someone attacked you 
And you're dead: 

An old girlfriend 
You met like me, 
Who was too proud 
To let you free. 

Perhaps you're dead 
And cannot call, 
Killed by a girl 
Who had a ball 



258 — REFLECTIONS 



With you the very 
Night before, 
And only wanted 
More and more. 

How many hours 
Has it been 
I've waited for 
The phone to ring? 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 259 



RIVAL 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

I was expecting you today. 
You said you'd come and then would stay 
All evening and all through the night 
So we could our own history write. 

I prepared pizza just for you, 
And ice cream for dessert, too. 
I got some sparkling champagne, 
But now it seems all was in vain. 

You never did show up today. 
I wonder if you went to stay 
With that plain girl I saw with you, 
Who, in my very humble view, 

Does not deserve a guy like you, 
Because she's plain and dumpy, too. 
I saw you with her once before, 
When I was looking out my door. 

The two of you were passing by, 
And I was shocked to see a guy 
Could lower himself to such a level 
That in an ugly girl he'd revel. 

Did you notice the girl's hair? 

A hurricane swept through with flair. 

Its color is a mousy brown, 

So drab that even mice would frown. 



260 — REFLECTIONS 



And how about her close-set eyes? 
They are so small, they look like flies. 
And did you see her crooked nose? 
Like a rat that's in repose. 

And did you look at those thin lips? 
They disappear in her tooth tips. 
And those teeth, they are so yellow 
They look a lot like lemon jello. 

I was expecting you today. 
You said you'd come and then would stay 
All evening and all through the night 
So we could our own history write. 

And did you observe her stubby neck? 
Her shoulders reach, if you just check, 
Up to her ears, and so she looks 
Like something from old cartoon books. 

Her rear end's clearly so immense 
That only someone who is dense 
Would fail to see there's too much there 
For someone with aesthetic flair. 

I could not help but view her bust, 
So flat that I'm not sure I'd trust 
That she's a girl (and not a boy) 
And thus to you could bring real joy. 

Her stomach bulges just as if 
A melon's stuck in her midriff. 
Of course I noticed her physique. 
So short and fat it makes me sick 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 261 



To think a handsome guy like you 
Could find himself in such a stew, 
And skip a date with someone great 
Like me; but then, perhaps it's fate. 

I was expecting you today. 
You said you'd come and then would stay 
All evening and all through the night 
So we could our own history write. 

Maybe you're no find after all. 
You lack discernment, and have gall 
To stand me up and instead date 
Someone who is so third-rate. 

I think I'll have some pizza, plain, 
And then some ice cream and champagne. 
There is no reason I should waste 
Delicious things because your taste 

In girls is not what it should be, 
So you forego a gem like me. 
I can't believe you just forgot. 
How could that be? I am so hot! 



262 — REFLECTIONS 



LIAR 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I know a young man 

For whom truth is just fiction. 

To tell others lies 

Seems to be his addiction. 

I have often wondered, 
When he tells me a lie, 
If he thinks I'm naive 
So with lies he'll get by, 

Or whether he never 
Quite thinks of the one 
Who has to hear some of 
The tales he has spun. 

Does lying, I wonder, 
Make him feel he's won 
A fight with a person 
Who no harm has done? 

Should I say to him, 
I can tell fiction from fact 
And that a life full of lies 
Is a life that is packed 

With no friends who can count 
On his word to be true, 
And with him will prefer 
To have nothing to do? 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 263 



Will he hear me, I wonder, 
If I speak to him now, 
And tell him quite gently 
I know that somehow 

He got on the wrong track 
And should only speak truth 
And must start so doing 
Right now, in his youth? 

Or should I keep mum, 
And not say a thing, 
'Cause to tell him I know 
Our estrangement will bring? 

These thoughts always go 
Through my mind when we meet. 
Can I somehow save him 
From his own self-defeat? 



264 — REFLECTIONS 



BEING DEVOUT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What is the meaning 
Of being devout? 
Is it believing, 
Without having doubt? 
Is it then praying 
To some God above? 
Or is it treating 
All others with love? 

I know a young lady 

Who herself deems devout. 

She gets up before dawn 

So some prayers she can spout, 

And then, on and off, 
All day long she'll repeat 

Her prayers again. 
Oh, what a feat! 

Now, some might conclude 
That this woman's a saint. 

She prays and she prays 
Without any restraint, 

But then she mistreats 
Her very own kin 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 265 



By ignoring them, thinking 
That she avoids sin. 

She's always too busy 
To tend to their needs. 

Her kids must not call her 
'Cause her prayers she reads. 

She never has time 

To spend with her spouse, 

Which, of course, leads 

To great strife in their house. 

She never has time 
To devote to her father, 

Although she professes 
To love him as no other. 

She does have the time, though, 
For her deceased mother, 

Because that just means 
More prayers, or rather, 

Prayers mixed with treating 
Those also devout 

To rich foods and drinks, 
Followed by prayers to shout. 



266 — REFLECTIONS 



What is the meaning 
Of being devout? 
Is it believing, 
Without having doubt? 
Is it then praying 
To some God above? 
Or is it treating 
All others with love? 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 267 



DRIVING 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I once had a friend 
Who was calm and serene 
Except that while driving 
A car he'd get mean. 

Whenever he saw 
Any car there ahead 
Of his own on the road, 
He got angry, and sped 

To make sure that no car 
Was ahead of his own. 
He would then utter words 
That I never had known. 

His face would get flushed 
And he'd press on the gas 
To accelerate so that 
The car he could pass. 

And as he was passing, 
He'd toot his car's horn 
And spew forth more words 
To express his great scorn. 

He would do this on highways 
And winding side roads. 
He'd do this in the morning 
With trucks full of loads. 



268 — REFLECTIONS 



And sometimes while driving 
To some destination 
He'd follow a car, 
To my great consternation, 

Even though he might not 
Have been going that way, 
So the driver ahead 
Would respect to him pay. 

Although I was fond 
Of my friend normally, 
Riding in his car 
Was too scary for me, 

So I found an excuse 
Whenever he'd ask 
If I wished to join him 
While performing some task. 

One day I was reading 
The papers and found 
Sad news of my friend 
(Which me didn't astound). 

He was killed in a crash 
With his car, that was there 
On a dark, winding road 
That would lead him nowhere. 



Poems and Lyrics: Human Foibles — 269 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 

MUStNCfi 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 271 



ON FRIENDSHIP 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What makes a good friend? 
What can I learn 
From my own experience 
So the title I'll earn? 

I always wish 
When I'm with a friend 
To be the very best 
Friend that I can. 

I wonder as I think 
Of friends I've had, 
What made some so great 
And others quite bad. 

What made all the difference 
Tween one and another? 
What made some so special 
They were like my brother, 

While others I had 
Made me feel quite sad, 
And I wanted to flee them, 
'Cause they made me so mad? 

What makes a good friend? 
What can I learn 
From my own experience 
So the title I'll earn? 



272 — REFLECTIONS 



A good friend always listens 
With both ears and heart, 
No matter what subject 
You try to impart, 

And knows when to speak, 
Or be silent instead, 
And when speaking, take care 
Not to make you feel bad. 

A friend lifts you up 
As high as can be, 
Restoring your faith 
That you should not flee 

Your problems, your life, 
But confront them head on 
With faith and with passion 
And keep going on. 

What makes a good friend? 
What can I learn 
From my own experience 
So the title I'll earn? 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 273 



ON KINDNESS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Defining "kindness" is no mean task, 
For if you look around and ask, 

"What makes a person truly kind?" 
Then various answers you will find. 

Some say, "It is kind acts that you do," 
But then it begs the question you 

Have posed in the first place to know 
What kindness is, what makes it so. 

Some others give examples of 
Acts that are a touch above 

Those one does in daily life 

While dealing with life's toil and strife, 

Like providing for one's kin 

By working harder than one's been. 

But not providing for one's kin 
Would really be akin to sin, 

So we have to look elsewhere 

For what makes kindness truly there. 

Acts of kindness that are above 
What we do for those we love 



274 — REFLECTIONS 



Are acts that spring out of compassion - 
Being warm-hearted and having passion - 

For those we may not even know 
But as humans, we feel the glow 

Of being one with God's creation 
And give without seeking sensation. 

It is important when we define 
What kindness is, not to be blind 

To acts that may seem kind but are 
Just self-promoting, and thus mar 

The very heart and soul of kindness, 
Which to ignore would be sheer blindness. 

So to be kind you have to give 
And let no others then perceive 

That you're the one who was thus kind. 
You give 'cause you're part of mankind. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 275 



ON COMPASSION 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

What is the trait man should possess 
To make sure he's the very best? 

For me the answer is quite plain, 
Although for years I searched in vain 

Among the traits that I admire, 
To pick one I would most desire. 

When I was young I picked great courage, 
Which Tarzan films helped to encourage, 

Confirmed by what I witnessed then: 
Great sacrifice among young men. 

When I grew up and went to school, 
I thought that not to be a fool 

Was most important, so being wise 
Became the trait that won my prize. 

When I began to create art 
I felt it would be very smart 

To put persistence above any trait 
So my art could be truly great. 

Then, when I got to be a wife 
Seeking to live in peace, not strife, 



276 — REFLECTIONS 



And during all those long hard years 
I raised my kids and shed some tears, 

I felt devotion was the trait 
That should most typify my fate. 

When I became a grandma to 

Four grandkids who my great love drew, 

I felt that being truly kind 

Was the trait needed by mankind. 

But now that I am old and see 
All those around me and am free 

To look back on my life, and then, 

To see the world that's wrought by men, 

The endless conflicts all around, 
The wars, the killings that abound, 

I think that there is but one trait 

Man must possess to change his fate. 

Compassion is the trait we need: 
Putting ourselves, with our own feet, 

In someone else's shoes, and gain 
The insight that would us sustain. 

Compassion is the trait we must 
Acquire, or we'll all go bust. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 277 



ON ENVY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Of all the flaws we humans show, 
Perhaps the worst we ever know 
Is envy, 'cause it eats us up 
From the inside, and fills our cup 
With feelings that will surely wreck 
Our self esteem and every speck 
Of strength within us that was built 
During a life of pain and guilt. 

To avoid envy, we simply need 
Not to measure our worth or deed 
Against someone other than us, 
And do so always, without fuss. 
For envy means that we compare 
Ourselves to someone who is there 
By chance, and has no real relation 
To our very own creation. 

So the one thing for you to do 
Is to compare yourself to you: 
See what you did in your own past 
Compared to what you feel you must 
Accomplish in this life of yours 
To be the best and thus ensure 
That you do all within your power. 
Just stand erect and do not cower 

To those who should do their own thing 
So to themselves they'll glory bring. 
You are yourself. Your life is yours. 
Just do your best. Take no detours. 



278 — REFLECTIONS 



ON LONGING 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Do you long 

For something great 

To happen in your life? 

To see a sight 
That would lift you 
Above your daily strife? 

To hear a sound 

That is sublime 

And raises you above 

Your humdrum state, 
Those mundane things 
You simply do not love? 

Do you long 

To have a friend 

Who will be kind and true, 

And make you feel 
That you are fine 
By being simply you? 

Or do you long 

To find a love 

Who'll ask for nothing more 

Than for you 

To love right back 

And never keep a score? 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 279 



Or are you wishing 

To be rich 

So you can others show 

You've made the grade, 

And in your wealth 

Can simply bathe and glow? 

Some of these things 

We wish for are 

Perhaps worthwhile to wish, 

But in the greater 
Scheme of things 
They are but a side dish. 

I'll tell you now, 
What I have learned, 
In my long life on earth: 

There is nothing 

Matching that 

To which we do give birth, 

To children and 

Similarly 

To what we do create, 

And give to others 

As we go, 

And make that our fate. 



280 — REFLECTIONS 



We're here to give 

And not to take, 

To make a better place 

For you and me, 

For all of us, 

The whole great human race. 

Don't ask, therefore, 
For something great 
To happen to you when 

The thing that's truly 

Great in life 

Is to give while you can. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 281 



ON MATING 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Did you ever wonder 
Why God has selected 
Man's system of mating, 
And others rejected? 

It seems so complex 
To mate in this way: 
To first have to meet 
Someone special one day, 

And then fall in love, 
And even get married, 
Before all that mating 
Is properly carried, 

And after all this 

Is finally done, 

And on their honeymoon 

The new couple has gone, 

They then have to wait 
Nine full months to see 
What offspring their mating 
Has caused there to be. 

Such great time and effort 
It takes just to bring 
A child to this world! 
(Hope he grows up to sing). 



282 — REFLECTIONS 



Why couldn't God simply 
Dispense with all this - 
The meeting and marrying, 
Then mating in bliss? 

Why couldn't He find, 
In His wisdom and power, 
A much simpler way 
To cause man to flower? 

As, for example, 
Have man just be able 
To think lovely thoughts, 
And a newborn enable? 

Or just like an artist, 
Man would sketch baby's form 
And then have the sketch 
Into 3-D transformed? 

I can think of some other 
Simple methods God could 
Have man beget kids, 
As mankind surely should, 

But then I'm not God, 
So I don't have a say 
In God's system of mating, 
Which is bound here to stay. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 283 



ON BEING A PARENT 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When I was a kid 

With a mom and a dad, 

I compared the two 

And was really glad 

That though one was remote, 

Sometimes angry and mean, 

The other was always 

So kind and serene. 

I therefore decided, 
When I was quite young, 
That when I grew up 
And my own family sprung, 
That I would just follow 
The path I had seen 
My kind parent take, 
And never be mean. 

It was not always easy 

To be very kind 

While teaching life's lessons 

To kids who are blind 

To all that awaits them 

As they grow up, 

To all of the challenge 

That may fill life's cup. 



284 — REFLECTIONS 



But remembering the parent 
Who managed to be 
Always kind and serene 
While raising me, 
I tried hard to follow 
The path that he took 
And to raise my own kids 
By the script in his book. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 285 



ON BEING A GRANDMA 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



To be a grandma 
There's no quick way. 
You can't beget - 
Hard though you pray - 
Grandkids without 
First giving birth 
To your own kids 
On this great earth. 

Sometimes you wish 
That you could skip 
A generation 
And could slip 
Into the role 
Of grandma first 
So with great pride 
You could then burst. 

But before a grandma 
You become, 
You have to go 
Through years plus some, 
Of parenting, 
And giving all 
To your own kids, 
And never stall. 



286 — REFLECTIONS 



But then maybe 
All those long years 
You raised your kids 
And got few cheers 
Were what prepared you 
For the days 
When as grandma 
You'll garner praise. 

When you're a grandma, 
You don't cook 
Or clean or nurse. 
You're off the hook 
As far as doing 
Menial chores 
That can be such 
Gigantic bores. 

When you're a grandma, 
You have great fun. 
You let the kids 
Just play and run, 
And go to places 
They would like, 
And do the things 
Their fancy strike. 

And then you teach them 
Things you've learned 
Through all those years 
In which you turned 
From being mom 
To grandma now, 
And which you grasped 
At last, somehow. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 287 



How great it is 
That our own kids 
Give us this gift 
That then us rids 
Of memories 
Of hardships and 
Brings grandmas to 
This promised land! 



288 — REFLECTIONS 



MY HOME 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What is it 
I like best 
About my home? 

Is it 

The temp, 

Which in winter stays warm? 

Is it 

The breeze 

In summer fans form? 

Is it 

The light 

My windows let in? 

Is it 

The decor, 

With colors that sing? 

Is it 

Furnishings 

That are without par? 

Is it 

The carpets 

That come from afar? 

Is it 

The paintings 

That hang on the wall? 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 289 



Is it 

The sculptures, 

Both big and small? 

Is it 

The closets, 

Of which I have many? 

Is it 

What's in them, 

Costing more than a penny? 

Is it 

The bathrooms 

With their shiny chrome? 

Is it 

The kitchen 

That makes it a home? 

What is it 
I like best 
About my home? 

The thing 
I like best 
About my place 

Is its front door, 

Which locks, 

So I don't have to face 



290 — REFLECTIONS 



Those who 
May be seeking 
My company when 

I'd rather be here 
By myself 
So I can 

Think my own thoughts, 
And my own 
Feelings feel, 

Not let would-be 

Intruders 

My precious time steal. 

What makes 

A place 

A home and more 

Is for sure 

Simply this: 

Its locking front door! 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 291 



ON SHOWERS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Each morning, 
When I take a shower, 
And feel the water 
Strike with power 

Both my body 
And my head, 
So I can suds 
All overspread, 

And to shampoo 
My hair proceed, 
With fragrant oils 
That soothe, indeed, 

I pause and wonder 
What those folk 
Who live in deserts 
And can't soak 

Themselves in water 
(Though wish they may) 
Do for themselves 
To start the day. 

I feel so lucky 
There is a shower 
To make me smell 
Like a fresh flower! 



292 — REFLECTIONS 



BEING GOOD 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When I was very young 
I knew a man who was 
Gentle and considerate 
And kind without a pause. 

I loved him very dearly, 
Him wished to emulate, 
And hoped when I grew up 
I'd be his duplicate. 

But then I realized 
The man had one big flaw: 
He was so very kind 
He never even saw 

That evil may be lurking 
In other people's heart, 
That someone else may, sadly, 
From this man's ways depart. 

So though I'll always love him, 
And thank my God each day 
That he was there to show me 
A true saint's loving way, 

I keep my eyes wide open 
To what others may be, 
Make sure, despite my kindness, 
I'm not too blind to see. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 293 



KEEPING ON 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When he was killed 
Fighting in war, 
I was not there, 
And, what is more, 
I did not have 
A goal beyond 
Doing things 
Of which I'm fond. 

And then right after 
He was killed, 
I shed streams 
Of tears that filled 
Many a day 
And many a night, 
Wishing myself 
To share his plight. 

But then I realized - 
And this took years 
That to pay tribute 
To our dears, 
We must be strong 
And carry on 
The mission they 
Have left undone. 



294 — REFLECTIONS 



ON LIFE'S PAIN 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I used to think life 
Is too hard to endure 
Because for its pain 
There is never a cure. 

I wished I could run 
Away from its woes 
And live life in peace 
And not suffer its blows. 

But now that I'm old 
I realize things 
That only old wisdom 
To us ever brings: 

That we learn 
Through our pain 
Life's deep truth 
As we gain 

The blessing of loving 
Those who, like us, 
Endure life's blows daily, 
Yet in life keep their trust. 

We are brethren in pain 
And brethren in grief 
And brethren in suffering 
Beyond belief. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 295 



We are brethren in love 

All through our tears. 

With our love we shall conquer 

All pain and all fears. 



296 — REFLECTIONS 



ON CAVES 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Unlike some folks, I do love caves. 
They make me feel, somehow, 

Happy and so very safe, 
Protected even though 

I've heard of dangers lurking there 
So others may them spurn. 

I wonder if I love caves 'cause 
Through them I can return 

To the womb that nurtured me 
Before I came aboard 

The jerky train that's carried me 
Since they cut my cord. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 297 



LET GO! 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Let go! Let go! 

I know the great pain 

Inflicted on you 

Once you boarded life's train 

I know how you suffered 
And wish to inflict 
Pain on the people 
Who were derelict, 

Or worse yet, were willful 
In causing such pain 
So your feelings of joy 
You could not sustain, 

But you must let go. 
Forget not the pain, 
But forgive all of those 
Who could not refrain 

From causing you hurt 
And great consternation 
And with it, no doubt, 
Some deep humiliation. 

Forgive them, I say, 
Not for them but for you, 
For if you do not, 
And in anger you stew, 



298 — REFLECTIONS 



You're no better than those 
Who inflicted the pain. 
You're hurting not them 
But yourself once again. 

Let go! Let go! 
Keep riding life's train 
And put your full focus 
On days that remain. 

Let go! Let go! 
Just think happy thoughts. 
Immerse now yourself 
In the joys life has brought. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 299 



IF I KNEW 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



If I knew that tomorrow 
Would bring my demise, 
How would I my daily 
Life then revise? 

If I knew that my life 
Would end in a day, 
What would I do 
Once I learned I can't stay? 

Would I continue 

More poems to write 

To let the world know 

What's wrong and what's right? 

Or would I write letters 
To those whom I love, 
Whether still with us 
Or in Heaven above? 

Would I then tell them 
How much they have meant 
To me in my life, 
And thus made a big dent? 

Or would I to family 
Bid my farewell, 
And alert them I now 
Hear the toll of my bell? 



300 — REFLECTIONS 



Or would I with special 
Friends spend my time 
While I'm still here 
(Though way past my prime)? 

Would I sit and paint 
A truly great painting 
In the very short time 
That I have remaining? 

Or would I my papers 
Proceed to arrange, 
So upon my demise 
There's found nothing strange? 

Or would I go out 
And look at the sky, 
And the flowers and trees, 
And the birds flying high? 

Would I eat a big meal 
Of my favorite food, 
A salad and ice cream, 
Which are always good? 

Or would I prepare 
My own burial clothes, 
So I can look chic 
Even in my repose? 

If I knew that tomorrow 
Would bring my demise, 
How would I my daily 
Life then revise? 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 301 



If I knew that my life 
Would end in a day, 
What would I do 
Once I learned I can't stay? 

I think I'll just sleep 
All day and all night, 
And thus be well rested 
Before that long flight 

To Heaven to meet 
All those who are there 
To greet me with love 
And their time with me share. 



302 — REFLECTIONS 



IF WE COULD SOAR 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

If we could soar like eagles 
Up in the big blue sky, 
And watch the world, like God, 
From that great place on high, 

And then would gain the insight 
That distance does provide, 
To free us of base feelings 
That mankind now divide, 

Perhaps we'd have a world 
Where true goodwill prevails, 
Where all's for one and one's for all, 
Which is what love entails. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 303 



QUEEN FOR A DAY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

If I were a queen 
For just twenty-four hours, 
And to change but one thing 
In this world I had power, 

What is it I'd put 
At the top of my list 
Of things to be altered 
That should not be missed? 

Would I first abolish 
All earthquakes and fires, 
And storms and great floods, 
Though they poets inspire? 

Would I change the climate, 
If the power I had, 
And decree no great heat 
Or fierce cold in its stead? 

Would I change the proportion 
Of ocean to land, 
So man could have more 
Firm ground where to stand? 

And would I proceed 
To then let man settle 
Wherever he wants, 
Over borders not battle? 



304 — REFLECTIONS 



Would I cause each person 
To hence live forever 
Yet remain as in youth? 
That would be quite clever! 

Would I simply outlaw 
All sickness and pain, 
And have man always 
In good health remain? 

If I were a queen 
For just twenty-four hours, 
And to change but one thing 
In this world I had power, 

What is it I'd put 
At the top of my list 
Of things to be altered 
That should not be missed? 

Would I have all the people 
Who are now fat and small, 
Become slim instead 
And grow quite tall? 

Would I let people's gender 
Be left to their choice, 
And in their own looks 
Give them a voice? 

Would I let them select 
Their color of skin 
So at will they'll become 
What they haven't been? 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 305 



Would I make man's religions 
Become all the same, 
So men would not fight 
And exclusive truth claim? 

Would I make man see clearly 
By causing obstruction 
To the thoughts that now lead 
To his self-destruction? 

If I were a queen 
For just twenty-four hours, 
And to change but one thing 
In this world I had power, 

What is it I'd put 
At the top of my list 
Of things to be altered 
That should not be missed? 

If I were indeed 
Queen for a day, 
I'd change people's hearts 
Without any delay. 

I'd make man imagine 
He's in others' shoes, 
So he'll know how they feel, 
Never others abuse. 

Man will then realize 
That we are all one. 
We're in this together, 
When all's said and done. 



306 — REFLECTIONS 



If man feels for others, 
There's hope men will cease 
To destroy one another, 
As they now do with ease. 



Poems and Lyrics: Musings — 307 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 

eWHAWMBW 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 309 



COLOR IN OUR WORLD 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Color in our world 

Is everything. 

Can you imagine a world 

Where sunrise would bring 

Only shadowy forms 
Of black and of white 
And of grays in between, 
Some darker, some light? 

Can you fathom a sky 
That is always dull gray, 
Never blue, never bright, 
Never happy and gay? 

Can you picture a mountain 
That's nothing but black, 
Never covered with trees, 
Never showing a track? 

Can you then see a valley 
With a stream running through, 
And the valley's not green 
And the stream is not blue, 

But gray everywhere, 
Through the valley and then 
Through the stream and the mountain 
And the sky gray again? 



310 — REFLECTIONS 



Color in our world 

Is everything. 

Can you imagine a world 

Where sunrise would bring 

Only shadowy forms 
Of black and of white 
And of grays in between, 
Some darker, some light? 

Just imagine a beach scene 
With boats of great hue, 
And the sand so yellow 
And the sea so blue, 

But then, by some curse, 
The whole scene becomes gray, 
The sea and the sand 
And the boats held at bay. 

But the worst thing of all, 
If no color we had, 
Would be flowers that bloom 
And yet look as if dead. 

Think of sunflowers glowing 
With their bright golden crown. 
Think of them now 
If in grayness they drown. 

Color in our world 

Is everything. 

Can you imagine a world 

Where sunrise would bring 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 311 



Only shadowy forms 
Of black and of white 
And of grays in between, 
Some darker, some light? 



312 — REFLECTIONS 



PINK ROSES 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



You sent me pink roses. 
They filled up my home 
With beauty and sweet scent 
Wherever I'd roam. 

Pink roses! 

Pink roses! 

I like them the best, 

Much more than 

Red ones 

And all the rest. 

As soon as I got them, 
I reached for a vase 
That would match their color 
And form a great base. 

I then took the vase, 
And set up those roses 
To show off their beauty 
And their elegant poses. 

I placed then the vase, 
With its roses so pink, 
Right in my parlor, 
As you would think. 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 313 



Pink roses! 

Pink roses! 

I like them the best, 

Much more than 

Red ones 

And all the rest. 

I treasured those roses. 
Guests marveled, too, 
When they saw those flowers 
With that stunning pink hue. 

Since then your roses 
Have lost their bloom. 
They withered and died, 
As is all roses' doom. 

But you sent me pink roses, 
And their beauty and scent 
Are with me forever, 
'Cause I know what you meant. 



314 — REFLECTIONS 



FLOWERS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When I was a boy 
In Holland, 
And saw flowers 
In bloom everywhere, 

I would sit among them 
For hours, 
And do little more 
Than just stare. 

I would ask myself 
Some questions, 
As I stared 
At the flowers around, 

About God and man 
And Creation, 
And the purpose 
Of these I found. 

What is 
The reason 
For flowers? 

Do you know 

Why God 

Made them grow? 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 315 



What is 
The reason 
For flowers? 

I will tell you 
So you'll 
Know. 

With the vast universe 
And this big noisy world, 
God created those treasures 
That nature unfurled, 

Those lovely small beings, 
That elegant fare, 
These fragrant bright gems 
That pop up everywhere: 

Roses, carnations, 
Calla lilies, too. 
Pansies and freesias 
And delphiniums blue, 

And hyacinths and lilacs 
And others so bright 
That we wish we could see them 
Even at night. 

What is 
The reason 
For flowers? 

Do you know 

Why God 

Made them grow? 

316 — REFLECTIONS 



What is 
The reason 
For flowers? 

I will tell you 
So you'll 
Know. 

To gladden the heart 
Of an artist. 
To make us bless God 
For this life. 

To celebrate beauty 
And color, 
And live ever more 
Without strife. 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 317 



THE MAGIC FLOWER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



It was winter 
When, in my garden, 
A magic flower grew. 

Through frozen snow 
And sheets of ice, 
It had broken through. 

Its stem erect, 

It braved attacks 

Of swirling winter storm. 

Its lovely face, 

Which it held high, 

Was red and sweet and warm 

"Whence did the flower 
Come?" some asked, 
"How did it get 
To grow 

Right in the winter 
Cold and ice, 
Surrounded by 
The snow?" 

Was it by chance 

The flower did 

Right in my garden land? 



318 — REFLECTIONS 



Or was it planted 

Where it grew, 

By some magic hand? 

I never knew 

That flowers grow 

In winter, and can stand 

Erect amidst 
The snow and ice. 
I never had it planned. 

"Whence did the flower 
Come?" some asked, 
"How did it get 
To grow 

Right in the winter 
Cold and ice, 
Surrounded by 
The snow?" 

It was winter 
When, unexpectedly, 
The flower did appear. 

Now still the magic 

Flower blooms 

In winter and all year. 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 319 



SNOW IS WHITE 

Laura Liberman 



Snow is white 
Snow is bright 
Oh, how I wish 
It would 
Snow tonight. 
I wish it might! 

I love the snow 
As you should know 
I love its glow 
And so let's go 
Walk in the snow 
To and fro. 



320 — REFLECTIONS 



ICE CREAM SNOW 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Snow is light. 
Snow is white. 
It falls from Heaven. 
What a sight! 
It covers fields 
And houses, too. 
It covers trees. 
It falls on you. 

The only trouble 
With that snow - 
As I'm sure 
You, too, well know - 
Is that it lacks 
Delicious taste 
And therefore it 
Just goes to waste. 

Can you imagine 
If instead 
Of flakes of snow 
That nature spreads, 
We would get scoops 
Of real ice cream, 
As big as balls? 
Oh, what a dream! 

We would have balls 
Of ice cream snow, 
Which would, like flakes, 
Gleam, glitter, glow, 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 321 



But, in addition, 
They'd provide 
Delicious treats 
For all mankind. 

Ice cream snow! 
Ice cream snow! 
Down our throat 
It would flow! 

The ice cream balls 
Would be in color 
To match their taste, 
As in a parlor: 
Brown for chocolate, 
Green for mint, 
Pink for berry, 
With just a hint 

Of real pistachio 
In a smooth blend 
Of green and brown 
That won't offend, 
And there'd be orange 
With that fresh taste 
Of sunny juice 
You'd drink in haste. 



322 — REFLECTIONS 



There would be other 
Colors, too, 
Yellow banana, 
Cream almond, ooh! 
And purple blueberries 
With taste so tart 
It would be great 
Your day to start. 

Ice cream snow! 
Ice cream snow! 
Down our throat 
It would flow! 

I could go on, 
Describing flavors 
And pretty colors 
Mankind favors. 
But now you know 
I have a dream. 
Instead offtakes, 
We need ice cream. 

The only question 
That would arise 
Concerns the ice cream 
Balls' demise. 
What would happen 
To all those balls 
That were uneaten 
When nighttime falls, 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 323 



And then they melt 
Into the ground, 
And mix with earth 
That's all around, 
And then their color 
And their taste 
Have all just simply 
Gone to waste? 

Ice cream snow! 
Ice cream snow! 
Down our throat 
It would flow! 

But really that 
Concern is trite, 
For when the balls 
Are out of sight, 
And the ground is 
Without a trace 
Of ice scream snow 
That did us grace, 

We'll simply pick 
The ice cream snow 
Right off the trees 
That always grow. 
For ice cream balls 
Won't disappear. 
They'd nourish trees ■ 
That is quite clear - 



324 — REFLECTIONS 



So when spring comes 
And all those trees 
Bear fruit with which 
Mankind to please, 
The fruit would be 
Fresh ice cream balls, 
On which we'll feast 
Until next fall. 

Snow is light. 
Snow is white. 
It falls from Heaven, 
What a sight! 
But as I've told you 
And now you know 
The thing we need 
Is ice cream snow! 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 325 



I PULLED MY BACK IN ST. CEZAIRE 

Laura Liberman 

This morning I pulled my back 
In St. Cezaire 

I got up early 

And walked to the village 

With my husband 

Up hills 

And stone roads 
With pebbles 
What a vue 

He went 

To music class 

Festijazz 

I went for groceries 
Patisserie for baguettes 
Boulangerie for meat 
Saveurs de la Terre for legumes 

And then I saw the jam 
Glass jar 

Confiture de 4 fruits rouges 
That's what did it 

Lifted the backpack 
Ouch 



326 — REFLECTIONS 



Hobbled across the square 

To a small cafe 

Cafe au lait 

Au lait au lait 

Read a big book 

Texted my guy 

Read drank waited breathed 

Then they came 
Husband and friends 
Old and new 
Sat with me 
Carried my things 
Helped me home 

I sat at the table 
Dark wood 
On a porch 
Turquoise pool 
Olive trees 
Mountains sun sky 

One friend made lunch 

(Diane Lane under the Tuscan sun) 

One sat to chat 

Two swam 

We ate 

Told stories 

Laughed 

They left 

I slept 

Refreshed 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 327 



I pulled my back in St. Cezaire 
And I am grateful 

Through my pain 

I am connected 

To my friends 

Who have felt pain loss joy 

We come to this tiny town 

Sparkling in the mountains 

Near Nice 

Find friends 

Make music 

Pain passes, Paradise 

Together, transformed 



328 — REFLECTIONS 



MINDFULLY IN PARIS 

Laura Liberman 

When you go to Paris 
I know you'll love it so 
'Cause when you go to Paris 
You'll mindfully let go. 

When you go to Paris 

You'll be glad that you lept. 

You'll find your patience and your trust 

You'll learn how to accept 

You'll walk along Champs Elysees 
And there I know you'll find 
Amidst the shops and brie a braes 
Your own Beginner's Mind. 

You'll go to the patisseries 
And have baguettes and fudge 
You'll visit the fromageries 
And have cheese and non-judge. 

You'll play in your small pied-a-terre 
With jingling keys and latch 
And in those chic sidewalk cafes 
I know you'll non-attach. 

You'll treasure each and every jour 
ReJoyce to be alive 
And as you seek and find your way 
You'll never, ever strive. 



Poems and Lyrics: Enchantment — 329 



Although you may go far from us, 
Although you may depart, 
Remember, we are with you there. 
You're always in our hearts. 

For when you go to Paris 
Wherever you may roam 
We'll be with you in spirit. 
Our hearts will be your home. 

When you go to Paris 
I know you'll love it so 
'Cause when you go to Paris 
You'll mindfully let go. 



330 — REFLECTIONS 



POEMS AND LYRICS: 

m 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 331 



A POEM A DAY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



A poem a day 
Keeps the doctor away. 
Just heed my words 
So you won't go astray. 

Despite that old saying 
That an apple a day 
Is the short route 
To keep doctors away, 

It isn't an apple 
That keeps you healthy 
When you're young or old, 
Whether poor or wealthy. 

For no apple has ever, 
Since Adam and Eve, 
Been essential to nourish 
Mankind, I believe. 

We are not only flesh 
But spirit to boot, 
And an apple won't cut it. 
It's just sour at its root. 

Man's spirit requires 
That we always nourish 
Our feelings and thoughts 
So we can all flourish. 



332 — REFLECTIONS 



And what better way 
To accomplish this mission 
Than through some poems, 
Whether based on tradition 

Or those that are recent, 
More modern in spirit? 
Just immerse yourself in them, 
Immerse and don't fear it! 

A poem a day 
Keeps the doctor away. 
Just heed my words 
So you won't go astray. 

It won't really matter 
If you read them or write. 
A poem's a poem. 
So of poems take a bite! 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 333 



ON COLLABORATION 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Collaboration 
Was never 
My thing 

When I fashioned art 
Through oil paints 
Or some bling. 

I liked working alone, 
And what I 
Had to say, 

No other could mess with, 

Even in 

A small way. 

But then I began 
Writing 
Some plays, 

And without a director 
And actors 
On stage, 

My plays simply couldn't 
Be brought 
To life, 

And to my surprise, 
My plays 
Became rife 



334 — REFLECTIONS 



With the great contribution 
These others 
Now made 

To plays I wrote, which 
No more 
Dormant stayed. 

And then I wrote lyrics, 
Namely, poems 
For singing 

And a composer 
Was needed 
For bringing 

My words into life. 
And when I 
Heard the song, 

Made of what I'd written 

I felt 

I'd been wrong 

All that time 
When I shunned 
Collaboration 

And alone worked 
For years 
At my station. 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 335 



So now I have learned 
That working 
With another 

On my own writings 
Is like becoming 
A mother 

With the egg given by one 
And the seed 
By the father, 

A new child is born 
Who is now 
Like no other. 



336 — REFLECTIONS 



TWENTY-SIX LETTERS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

When I hear a poem recited, 
Or if I read it on a page, 
And when I listen to a lyric 
Performed in song upon the stage, 

When I read great books that matter, 
Or articles that me inform, 
And when I listen to a lecture 
That will perhaps my life transform, 

When my family speaks to me 
In loving tones that I will cherish, 
Or when a friend addresses me 
In words I will forever relish, 

Then for a moment I stop and think 
That all these words I heard or read, 
And all their various combinations 
In sentences and pages spread, 

Are made of nothing more than letters - 
Just twenty-six to be precise - 
That our familiar English language 
Brought down to us as a device 

For us to form such words and more, 
Like sentences and stanzas, too 
And paragraphs and choruses 
With verses bright and sometimes blue. 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 337 



Just twenty-six of those great tools 
Allow us to express our thought, 
Communicate our feeling plus 
Inform us what this life has taught. 



338 — REFLECTIONS 



TWELVE NOTES 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



When I hear 
A brand new song, 
To whatever genre 
It may belong, 

Whether classical 
Or folk, 

Hip hop, country 
Or even rock, 

Whether Jazz 
Or darkest Blues, 
Or other style 
That it might use, 

I always marvel 
At the fact 

The song was made, 
And kept intact, 

By use of just 
Twelve little notes 
Put together, 
Like magic coats, 

In combinations 
That astound 
'Cause they elsewhere 
Cannot be found. 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 339 



Now, these twelve notes 
Can be combined 
In ways that are 
Quite unconfined, 

And can be sung 
Real fast or slow, 
And loud or soft, 
And high or low. 

They can be sung 
In crisp staccato, 
Or smooth legato, 
With great vibrato. 

Twelve little notes 
Account for all 
The songs we hear, 
Which us enthrall. 



340 — REFLECTIONS 



THREE HUES 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Did you ever 
Stop and think 
Of our world 
Without its color? 
What a sad world 
We would have! 
I'm sure that nothing 
Could be duller! 

When I observe God's vast creation 
And feel moved by all that splendor, 
The bright blue sky, the deep blue seas 
That in us deep respect engender, 

The trees that grow so green in spring, 
When they sprout buds and then some fruit, 
Like apples red and peaches peach, 
And purple berries, small and cute, 

And all the flowers growing there 
When spring and summer come around, 
In colors bright, like red and blue, 
And yellow, orange, they abound, 

The grass that turns from green to brown 
As winter storms approach in fall, 
The sun and moon and all those stars 
Whose names I don't even recall, 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 341 



Those creatures that adorn the world 
Like birds that show off to their mate, 
And butterflies that fly in summer, 
And fish that swim around their bait - 

Did you ever 
Stop and think 
Of our world 
Without its color? 
What a sad world 
We would have! 
I'm sure that nothing 
Could be duller! 

I can't help thinking that our God 
Is a great artist, since, indeed, 
He used only three hues to make 
All those great colors that he'd need. 

Those hues are red and blue and yellow, 
Hues that all the others make, 
Like purple, green, and orange, too, 
Which are a mix if two we take. 

Of course God had to mix those hues 
With black or white when he created 
All those mysterious shades we see, 
And tints which should not be berated. 

By mixing hues with one another 
Or with the blacks and whites above, 
God made chromatic variations, 
Some dull, while others - bright - we love. 



342 — REFLECTIONS 



Indeed God is a brilliant artist, 
Showing us right here on earth 
That if you want to achieve greatness 
And to some moving art give birth, 

You must follow in His footsteps 
And then no doubt you can believe 
That with three hues, plus black and white, 
Art's greatest glory is achieved. 

Did you ever 
Stop and think 
Of our world 
Without its color? 
What a sad world 
We would have! 
I'm sure that nothing 
Could be duller! 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 343 



ON ART 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



"What makes great art?" 
You may ask. 
What is the artists' 
Foremost task, 

Whatever medium 
They might use, 
Whether paint or words 
Or sounds, like blues, 

Or stone like marble 
Or even clay, 
Productions based 
On their own play, 

Or fabric that's 
Enhanced with beads 
And threads in hues 
With ease one reads? 

Artists do 
Employ great skill 
To put together 
Works that will 

Touch people's heart 
And perhaps, too, 
Engage their mind 
The whole way through. 



344 — REFLECTIONS 



But even though 
Great skill is there 
To create art 
Beyond compare, 

It's not the skill 
Alone that makes 
For a great work 
That our breath takes, 

But what the artist 
Felt and thought 
And through great skill 
To life then brought, 

So we may know 
The deeper thing 
That mere appearance 
Cannot bring. 

Art guides our life 
Since early youth. 
Through art we will 
Perceive the truth. 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 345 



WHAT IS AN ARTIST? 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

What is the essence 
Of being 
An artist? 

What makes 
Some people 
Never content 

Unless they 

Create 

And even then 

They're not pleased 
Unless they do it 
Again and again? 

What is the essence 
Of being 
An artist? 

Is it a talent 
That others 
Just never 
Possessed? 

Is it a vision 
With which 
Plain folk 
Aren't blessed? 



346 — REFLECTIONS 



Is it a knowledge 
Of what 
No others 
Can see? 

Is it an insight 
Into what 
Life's mysteries 
Might be? 

What is the essence 
Of being 
An artist? 

Is it a skill 
One acquires 
Through hard work 
And toil? 

Or a practice 
One goes through 
While one burns 
Midnight oil? 

Is it learning 
Of steps 
To perform 
The job right? 

Or memorizing 
Some tasks 
So your art 
Attains height? 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 347 



What is the essence 
Of being 
An artist? 

It's fire in the chest. 
It's shortness of breath. 
If we couldn't create 
We'd be wishing for death 

It's love beyond love. 
It's faith beyond faith. 
If we couldn't create 
We'd be living a death. 



348 — REFLECTIONS 



EASILY SHAKEN 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Why is an artist 
So easily shaken? 

Why does a gesture 
So deeply hurt? 

Why do mere words 
Sometimes feel like daggers? 

Why does a silence 
Seem rude and curt? 

Is it that artists 
Are eager to please, 

Much more than people 
Who do things with ease? 

Is it that unlike 

Those others out there, 

We have something serious 
We need to declare? 

Or is it because 

We artists have bound 

Our hearts, our lives 
To truths we found? 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 349 



With our souls in our art, 
We therefore expose 

Our very being 
To all of those 

Who glance at our work 
And say something absurd, 

Or silent remain, 
And not say a word? 

Why is an artist 
So easily shaken? 

Why does a gesture 
So deeply hurt? 

Why do mere words 
Sometimes feel like daggers? 

Why does a silence 
Seem rude and curt? 



350 — REFLECTIONS 



ARTISTS DON'T DIE 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Artists don't die. 
Through their works 
They live on. 

They speak to mankind 
Long after 
They're gone. 

Sometimes they speak louder 
As time 
Passes by. 

Sometimes what they said 
Makes more sense 
If they die, 

But artists live on, 
Unlike all those 
Plain folk 

Who go through 
Their lives simply 
Carrying the yoke 

Of subsistence, existence, 

Resistance 

And more, 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 351 



And spend all their time 

Unaware 

What's in store. 

And never leave 

Anything 

After they're gone 

Except for sad memories 

Of a life 

That was born. 

And maybe possessions 
That don't mean 
A thing 

As compared to the glory 
That true art 
Will bring. 

Artists don't die. 
Through their works 
They live on. 

They speak to mankind 
Long after 
They're gone. 



352 — REFLECTIONS 



WRITER'S BLOCK 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



I have heard that writers 
Sometimes suffer a block 
Which keeps them from writing. 
That must be a shock! 

Now I wonder why I'm 
Never blocked in that way. 
I always feel that I have 
Much more to say! 

Am I thus truly blessed 
'Cause I've lived a long life, 
So I have plenty to tell 
About life's joys and strife? 

Or because I do spend 
Long periods of time 
Alone, when I ponder 
Life's reason and rhyme? 

Or is it because 
I just write as I feel, 
Never worry if others 
For my writing have zeal? 

Or is it because 

I am always aware 

That my life here is finite, 

At death's face I'll soon stare? 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 353 



Whatever the reason, 

I do feel quite blessed 

That not even once 

Has that block on me pressed 

But I wonder if you, 
Gentle reader out there, 
Wish I'd suffer that block 
And leave my paper bare. 



354 — REFLECTIONS 



I WOKE UP 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

I woke up this morning, 
Thanked God for one more day 
In which I can do as I wish, 
Say what I want to say. 

Another great adventure 

Of thinking out a piece 

Which will indeed express my thoughts, 

Do so with seeming ease. 

How many days do I have left 
To do my own work now? 
Will I wake up another day, 
Or will I to death bow? 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 355 



WHAT IS THE STAR? 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 



What is the star 
That beckons me 
Within the dark of night? 

Whence all the power 

It exerts 

Although it's out of sight? 

Was it created 

By some God 

To lure me to reach out 

And search for what 
Was never seen 
By anyone about? 

Does it belong 

To galaxies 

Beyond our Milky Way? 

Am I the only one 

Who knows 

That star is there to stay? 

I look for it 

Despite myself, 

As if by God ordained. 

It calls my name. 

I follow it 

And keep my search sustained 



356 — REFLECTIONS 



SO MANY ROADS 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

So many roads I've traveled. 
So many sights I've seen. 
So many trails created 
In places I have been. 

So many oceans dared 
Since I was in my prime. 
So many mountains conquered, 
Although bruised in the climb. 

I wonder if right now 
That I have reached old age, 
I should just sit, enjoy the view, 
And no more travels stage. 

But then I'm what I've always been, 
So challenge can't resist. 
I'll keep on traveling new roads. 
Indeed, I shall persist! 



Poems and Lyrics: Art — 357 



PART II: 

STORIES 



359 



HOUSe 10 IB 

om 10 a NemopHtt 

tee czeflM swow 

me tmte mw 

me vew old. pAwez 

me mm m song 



361 



HOUSE TO LET 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

There was once an architect 
Who set about to plan 
A house that would be big enough 
To fit a great big man. 

He had built many houses 
For men of every size, 
But none were quite as spacious 
As the one he'd now devise. 

Using paper by the forest 

And pencils by the ton, 

He sketched the basement, halls and rooms 

With great care, one by one. 

He spent his bottom dollar 
Before the excavation, 
But in the nick of time received 
A grant from some foundation. 

A dozen years or so he planned, 
And then his work began. 
The workers and materials all 
Were from a foreign land. 

"Why can't he use the local stuff?" 
Was a question men would broach. 
The architect would simply grunt, 
"This needs a new approach!" 



362 — REFLECTIONS 



Some troubles he encountered 
Are too awful to relate. 
Neither workers nor materials 
Would smoothly integrate. 

The men could not communicate. 
Materials were too raw. 
No greater problems did occur 
That people ever saw. 

And what was more, when it was done, 
And reached up to the sky, 
There was no man quite big enough 
Its rooms to occupy. 

So to this day the house stands there, 
Unlived in by a soul; 
To block the sun appears to be 
Its one and only goal. 

The critics look at it and say, 
"The structure is good evidence 
Of why a man should not prefer 
His reason over experience." 

But other men to them reply, 
'This edifice, no doubt, is sound, 
Because some day, somewhere, somehow 
The big man will be found." 



Stories: House To Let — 363 



ODE TO A NEUTROPHIL 

Laura Liberman 
Copyright © 2009 by Laura Liberman 

Now once there was a myeloblast 
In bone marrow awaiting 
The day when he would grow up 
And start differentiating. 

His mother, a promyelocyte, 
Urged him with voice emphatic, 
"Develop! Get some lysosomes! 
Be metachromatic!" 

He was about to do it when 

A red blood cell nearby 

Said, "You'll regret it if you do it, pal." 

"Regret it? Why?" 

The red blood cell explained to him, 
"If you become a poly, 
You'll live 2 days in tissues 
And then die. It would be folly 

For one so young, such as yourself, 
To throw your life away 
And live 2 days when you could live 
4 months another way." 

"Could live 4 months? How could it be? 
You mean there's hope in sight?" 
The myeloblast demanded 
Of the young erythrocyte. 



364 — REFLECTIONS 



"Of course," replied the RBC, 
For you know very well 
You live 120 days 
If you're a red blood cell." 

So saying, the erythrocyte 
Got up and swam away. 
The myeloblast thought over 
What his friend had had to say, 

And he resolved to try it. 
Yes, he would run any risk 
In order to transform into 
A red biconcave disc. 

And so, instead of synthesizing 
Many lysosomes 
He tried to make just hemoglobin 
Off his polysomes 

So he could carry oxygen 
Just like a red blood cell. 
The myeloblast then tried to lose 
His nucleus as well. 

His mom, a metamyelocyte, 
About to be a band, 
Said, "What's holding you up, my son? 
I do not understand. 

You should have had those granules 
Inside you long before. 
Now, hurry! There's no time to spare! 
You can't wait anymore!" 



Stories: Ode To A Neutrophil — 365 



"But, Mom," replied the myeloblast, 
"I can't do what you do 
'Cause if I do that I'll become 
A neutrophil like you, 

And die after two days of life. 
But red blood cells live on 
So to erythropoietin 
I must learn to respond!" 

His mother, then a neutrophil, said, 
"Son, give up this game. 
The situation's desperate. 
The tissues are inflamed. 

I know there's an infection. 
I feel it in my lobes. 
I know that those bacteria 
Are entering in droves. 

And only we can stop them, son. 
It's true our life has flaws. 
I know that we must die for it, 
But we die for a cause." 

She turned and left the bone marrow, 
Swam through the sinusoid 
And gave a last long look at her 
Delinquent little boy. 

He thought it over. No, he couldn't 

Selfishly ignore 

His duty as a neutrophil 

As he had done before. 



366 — REFLECTIONS 



"Longevity is nice," said he, 
"But I must do what's right, 
And so I'll be a 
Polymorphonuclear leukocyte." 

And so, our friend the myeloblast 
Gave up his former ways. 
He turned into a neutrophil 
In less than 14 days. 

And then he left the bone marrow, 
Swam through the circulation, 
Diapedesing when he found 
The site of inflammation. 

"The place is full of bugs!" he cried. 
"Now what am I to do?" 
A nearby poly said, "Just eat it, 
Get it inside you, 

And let your granules do the rest." 
Our friend then heard the moanin' 
Of an unlucky bug who had been 
Coated with opsonin. 

He hit it with his 2-1 punch 

Until it was digested 

Then turned to other bugs with which 

The tissue was infested. 

It was a hard-fought battle, 

But the polys won the war. 

The tissue, once inflamed, became 

Just as it was before. 



Stories: Ode To A Neutrophil — 367 



But yea, alas, our poly 
Was breathing his last breath. 
His two-day life was over. 
He died a martyr's death. 

So let us thank the neutrophil, 
Who gives his life to us 
Who fights with our bacteria 
And dies with them in pus. 

No choristers will sing for him. 
For him will toll no bells, 
But we will thank the neutrophil, 
The noblest of cells. 



368 — REFLECTIONS 



ICE CREAM SNOW 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 
Copyright © 2012 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Not long ago, not far away, 
I woke up with a start one day. 

Too scared to move, I lay in bed. 
I heard a racket overhead, 

A noise like hail, except much more - 
I never heard that kind before: 

Like someone throwing tennis balls 
By the millions at the walls. 

The roof was creaking, windows shaking. 
I felt sure they'd soon be breaking. 

Then I heard my little brother, 
Ben, cry, "Mother! Mother! Mother!" 

"What is it, Ben? What's all the noise?" 
I yelled. "Slip on your corduroys, 

And hurry, see what's going on, 
Or are you chicken, you moron?" 

So Ben got up, at first real slow, 
And went to look, on tippy-toe, 

Out the window, at the yard, 
And further down the boulevard. 



Stories: Ice Cream Snow — 369 



He looked and looked. "Well, Ben," I said, 
"Tell me, dumbbell. Are you dead?" 

"Come look!" cried Ben, and smiled at me. 
"It's snow! It's ice cream snow! Come see!" 

"Ice cream snow? What do you mean? 
What is 'ice cream snow,' you bean?" 

And, anyway, how could it snow? 
It was late March, when flowers grow! 

But I jumped up, then, clear and bright, 
And out the window saw the sight: 

A million snowballs here and there, 
A million snowballs everywhere, 

In the air and on the ground, 
Landing with a crashing sound, 

Big as fists and round as balls, 
Sparkling just like snow that falls, 

And, oh, the colors: pink or peach, 
Cream or yellow or lime each, 

Like ice cream scoops at a birthday party. 
"Ice cream snow!" Ben said. "Right, Marty?" 

"Well, open it!" I said to Ben. 
"The window, kiddo! I'll say when." 

Ben raised the window just a bit, 
And then I smelled it through the slit. 

370 — REFLECTIONS 



It was the smell of real ice cream. 
But was it real or just a dream? 

"I'm going out," I said to Ben, 

And slipped on pants and shoes right then. 

"I'm coming, too," Ben said to me, 
And, barefoot, followed rapidly. 

So past Mom's bedroom, by the den, 
We ran quite quickly, me and Ben. 

The door was locked. I opened it, 
Not very wide, but just a bit. 

I peeked outside and I could see 

Those balls now covered ground and tree. 

Still more were falling all around, 

And in the noise my voice seemed drowned 

"Go get a bowl, Ben. Understand?" 
I yelled to Ben and stretched my hand 

To catch a falling ball or two. 
But I could not, so fast they flew! 

I bent down then, and touched the ground. 
I grabbed one ball right off a mound. 

It felt quite firm, and cold as ice, 
And sticky, too, to be precise, 



Stories: Ice Cream Snow — 371 



And it was sort of beige in hue. 
It could be chocolate or fudge, too. 

I took a lick. How sweet! Eh - coffee? 
Or was it mocha or English toffee? 

I licked again, to guess the flavor. 
It was delicious, that I could savor. 

But now I felt the ball begin 

To melt away and squash right in. 

I started gripping more and more. 
It made a puddle on the floor. 

"Hurry, Ben! Now, bring it quick, 
Or the whole floor we'll have to lick!" 

Just then Ben came, a bowl in hand, 
And next to me he took a stand. 

I grabbed the bowl and dropped the ball 
Right in before it splashed the wall. 

"Now hurry, Ben, and get another, 

And paper towels! Don't wake up Mother!" 

I held the bowl right out the door 
To catch with it a little more. 

A pinkish ball I caught, in flight, 
Of strawberry with bits of white, 

And then a yellow ball of ice, 

And then a green one. That was nice! 

372 — REFLECTIONS 



When Ben brought back a paper towel 
I said, "Now wipe, and don't just scowl!" 

Intending more ice cream to land, 

I grabbed the new bowl from his hand, 

But noticed now, right through the door, 
It wasn't snowing any more. 

"Go fetch a spoon!" to Ben I yelled, 
And both my bowls to him I held. 

"Put them away! I will go out. 
Now, hurry! Do I have to shout?" 

The door I opened all the way, 
And stepped out to the light of day. 

The ground was firm, but very bumpy. 
The ice cream balls were quite lumpy. 

I took a step or two at most, 

Then slipped and leaned against a post. 

But why walk farther, anyway? 
There was no reason not to stay 

And eat the ice cream that was there, 
Right by the door, beside the stair. 

I sat down then and picked a ball 
Of lime-green ice. I ate it all. 



Stories: Ice Cream Snow — 373 



And then another and a third. 

But where was Ben? Oh, how absurd! 

I ate a fourth, a fifth ball, too: 
Cherry, blueberry - one red, one blue. 

At last Ben came, a spoon in hand. 
He slipped, and next to me did land. 

I grabbed the spoon and said, "What's wrong? 
Why do you have to take so long? 

You really have to work in haste, 
Or this ice cream will go to waste. 

Now get some clean pails, boxes, too, 
Before the ice cream melts. Now shoo! 

I'll use the spoon to taste the snow, 
And we will be all set to go." 

So Ben got up, went in the door, 
And I set out to eat some more. 

There was an orange ball in reach. 
It tasted just as good as peach. 

An orchid colored one I tried. 
It was so large, I opened wide. 

A creamy colored scoop turned out 
To be banana, there's no doubt. 

And a dotted one I had 

Of chocolate chip was not so bad. 

374 — REFLECTIONS 



A swirly ball of dark and light 
Ws fudge swirl, and hit just right. 

And there was boysenberry-apple, 
And marshmallow with which to grapple. 

But now I noticed all around 

The ice cream thawing on the ground. 

Not all at once, but bit by bit. 
Will it get creamy where I sit? 

And where was Ben? That little fool, 
Too young to even go to school. 

Where were the boxes and the pails? 
Why is it that he always fails? 

Just then I saw Ben at the door, 
With the pail for washing floor. 

He stepped outside and said, "Don't fear! 
I got a real big pail right here!" 

I snatched the pail right from his hand 
And said, "Now you must understand 

There's lots of work for us to do, 
Not just for me, but for you, too, 

So hurry back and get a tool. 

A shovel's what we need, you fool! 



Stories: Ice Cream Snow — 375 



The ice cream's melting very fast! 
You have to rush! It will not last!" 

So Ben stepped in, and I began 
To scoop the snow before it ran. 

I used the spoon to scoop a ball, 
And balanced it so it won't fall. 

I dumped it in the pail so quick, 
I only managed one small lick. 

Another, then, I picked with care. 
More than two licks I didn't dare. 

I scooped a third, a fourth, and more, 
But Ben was not yet at the door. 

And all around I saw the glow 

Of quickly melting ice cream snow. 

And under me, right where I sat, 
The ice cream balls were getting flat. 

And I felt moisture on my pants 

As I worked fast with both my hands, 

A spoon in one, the other bare, 
To fill the pail with ice cream fare. 

I labored long and hard and quick. 
To fill the pail was no mean trick. 

But when I finally looked inside, 
I had a shock. I nearly died! 



376 — REFLECTIONS 



There were no balls inside the pail, 
But only mush! I gave a wail. 

Then Ben came out, with shovel in hand. 
I called to him, "Ben, don't just stand! 

See this pail here? This you should stick 
In Mom's big fridge. Now do it quick! 

And bring some boxes! Hurry, though, 
Or we will lose this ice cream snow!" 

Ben bent right down to lift the pail, 
But he could not. He was too frail. 

"I'll dump a little out," I said, 
But then I licked a bit instead. 

"I'll put it right inside the door, 
And you can drag it on the floor." 

So I got up and did just that. 

By now the snow was almost flat. 

I picked the shovel up from where 
My brother left it on the stair. 

I tried to shovel a big mound, 

But now the snow was mixed with ground 

It was no longer peach or mint. 
Of pink or blue there was no hint, 



Stories: Ice Cream Snow — 377 



But all was brown. Soon, all around, 
The snow was melted to the ground. 

For one more moment, I could see 
A glint of color in our tree, 

A drop of orange, shining bright, 
A speck of pink, a touch of white, 

But then these, too, slid down to drown, 
And, like the earth, the tree was brown. 

Suddenly, I heard a roar. 
It was my mother at the door. 

"What's all this mess?" she yelled at me. 
"The floor! The pail! The freezer! Gee! 

What's all the sticky stuff you got?" 

My mother yelled. "What? What? What? What?" 

She did not wait for me to say. 
She just kept screaming anyway. 

I walked inside and kept my cool. 

I washed and dressed to go to school. 

And I could hear my brother, Ben, 
Sobbing, crying, now and then. 

I wished to tell Mom, "Well, you know, 
We had delicious ice cream snow! 

I saved some in your pail, you see, 
For all of us: Ben, you and me." 

378 — REFLECTIONS 



But I could see, behind the door, 
That pail with water for the floor. 

And Mom just shook her head and said, 
"I'll scrub and then go back to bed!" 

Some weeks went by. It got so hot 
That those snow days I just forgot. 

But suddenly, in early May, 
I saw at dawn one Saturday, 

Ben standing over me. He said, 
"More ice cream snow! Get out of bed!" 

I dashed right to the window then. 
The grass was green as in a glen. 

"Ice cream snow? Where? I can't see!" 
"Look right there! Up on the tree!" 

I looked and thought my eyes would pop. 
I ran outside without a stop. 

And Ben, he ran along with me, 
Right down the stairs and up the tree. 

"The ice cream melted in the ground, 
And now there's ice cream fruit around!" 

Ben yelled, and climbed the tree some more, 
Picking fruit off by the score. 



Stories: Ice Cream Snow — 379 



Pink and cream and blue and peach, 
They were all there within reach. 

Of ice cream snow we ate our fill 
That whole day, I remember still. 

And even Mother, once or twice, 
Came out to eat delicious ice. 

And all that spring and summer, oh! 
Our tree bore fruit of ice cream snow. 



380 — REFLECTIONS 



THE LITTLE FAIRY 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

It did not seem at all like a day in which magic would 
happen as Jonathan made his way down the path to the 
local library. The rain was beating down heavily, creating 
large muddy puddles. Jonathan remembered his mother 
telling him to avoid the puddles so he would not catch a 
cold, but he liked to step in puddles. He liked the way the 
waves formed around his feet, creating larger and larger 
circles all around, like magic waves around a magician's 
wand. 

"You're late today, Jonathan," the librarian smiled at him 
as he entered the small, familiar library room. 

Mrs. Peatly, the librarian, was seated at her desk, as 
usual, and looked at him from behind a large pile of 
books. She was obviously pleased that he had come. 
Not many people came here, especially on rainy days. 
And Jonathan had even heard his father tell his mother 
that the library might close down. 

Jonathan quickly moved past Mrs. Peatly's desk and 
beyond the coat rack, where Mrs. Peatly's limp old coat 
hung all alone. The children's section was on the far end 
of the room, and Jonathan sat down on the floor in front 
of the low, wide bookshelves crammed with books. It 
was his favorite spot, where he sat every day when he 
came to the library after school. And he was glad that 
today he had it to himself, so he could try his magic trick. 



Stories: The Little Fairy — 381 



Seated on the floor, he folded his legs in front of him, 
closed his eyes and stretched his right arm forward until 
his hand touched some books. 

"Aren't you going to take off your coat, Jonathan?" he 
heard Mrs. Peatly's voice. Startled, he opened his eyes 
Mrs. Peatly was standing over him. "You're all wet, 
Jonathan. Take off your coat before you catch a cold!" 

Mrs. Peatly was reaching for his coat. Jonathan quickly 
unbuttoned it, took it off and handed it to Mrs. Peatly. 

"I forgot," he mumbled apologetically. "Thank you, Mrs. 
Peatly!" 

Jonathan waited until Mrs. Peatly was out of sight, 
wondering if she had noticed anything. Then he closed 
his eyes again and with his right hand stretched in front 
of him, he inched his way closer to the bookcase. 

"Where are you?" he whispered. His hand moved slowly 
across the books, hesitating here and there, and then 
moved on. "Where are you?" he repeated. 

He knew that this was not the usual way to choose 
a book, and he never would have dared to do this 
magic trick in the presence of anyone, for fear of being 
ridiculed. When he was being watched, he carefully 
looked at the books along the shelf, and would pick the 
most brightly colored one or the newest. But if there was 
one thing Jonathan had learned about books, it was that 
you could not judge a book by its cover. And that was 
how he had come to think of his magic way of picking 
out a book. 



382 — REFLECTIONS 



With his eyes closed, Jonathan moved his outstretched 
hand slowly across the books. Suddenly, his hand 
stopped. He felt a small vibration at his fingertips, and, 
hesitating for a moment, he carefully pulled out a book, 
making sure he did not upset any of the books on either 
side of it. Opening his eyes to look a his find, he noticed 
that it was a small book, rather gray looking, neither 
very old nor very new, and Jonathan felt sure that he 
never would have picked it but for his magic trick. For 
a moment he was disappointed and tempted to put the 
book back on the shelf and try his trick again. 

But he did not. He opened the book and began to 
read it. It was a story about a little fairy, and the more 
Jonathan read, the more he liked the story. When he 
was done reading, Jonathan hugged the small book to 
his chest. He was glad that he had used his magic trick 
to choose a book. Closing his eyes, he could imagine 
the little fairy speaking of far away magic worlds... 

Something was stirring in his arms, and Jonathan 
opened his eyes to look. There, right under his gaze, a 
little fairy was wriggling her way right out of the book, 
head first. Astonished, Jonathan let go of the book. It 
fell right into his lap, the little fairy falling on top of it. She 
jumped to her feet and looked up at Jonathan, smiling. 
Jonathan noticed that she was much smaller than he 
had imagined, no more than six inches tall, but every bit 
as pretty as the illustrations showed. 

"Gosh!" Jonathan exclaimed, rubbing his eyes in 
disbelief. 



Stories: The Little Fairy — 383 



The little fairy put her finger to her lips, as if to silence 
him. She quickly scrambled up his arm and perched on 
his shoulder. 

"We must not be overheard," she whispered to him. 
"Grownups can't see me, so they don't believe I exist. If 
they hear you speaking to me, they will think you are out 
of your mind." 

Jonathan nodded rapidly. 

"Okay," he whispered back to the fairy. And right away 
he wished he had not whispered quite so loud. 

"Is anything the matter?" Mrs. Peatly's voice resounded 
from the far end of the room. "Did you find a book, 
Jonathan?" 

"Yes, thank you, Mrs. Peatly," Jonathan called back, 
using his most matter-of-fact voice and hoping Mrs. 
Peatly did not suspect anything. "Everything's just fine." 

Jonathan turned again to the little fairy perched on his 
shoulder. Her head was level with his eyes, and he could 
see her clearly now. There were so many questions he 
wanted to ask her. Where did she come from? And why? 
Did she appear to everyone who read this book? How 
long would she stay? 

But he did not dare to ask any of these questions, for 
fear that Mrs. Peatly would hear him. 

The little fairy seemed to read his mind. She was tugging 
at his ear. 



384 — REFLECTIONS 



"Perhaps we'd better get out of here, so we can talk," 
she whispered. 

Jonathan nodded, but before he had a chance to figure 
out how he could get the fairy out of the library without 
Mrs. Peatly noticing, the little fairy slid down his arm and 
disappeared into the book in his lap. 

"I'll take you home with me," Jonathan said, not quite 
sure whether he was addressing the book or the fairy, 
and forgetting for a moment that he was supposed to 
whisper. 

He quickly picked up the book and put it under his arm, 
hoping Mrs. Peatly would not see it. 

"What did you say?" Mrs. Peatly asked as he made his 
way to the coat rack by her desk. 

"Er..." Jonathan said, "I'm... er... going... er... to take... 
er... this book... er... out." There was no way to avoid 
Mrs. Peatly's gaze as he fumbled for his coat. He wished 
that he had kept his coat on, for then he might have 
been able to hide the book under it. 

"Let me see it," Mrs. Peatly said and reached for the 
small, gray book. 

"Please be careful!" Jonathan cautioned as he handed 
the book to Mrs. Peatly. 

Mrs. Peatly opened the front cover of the book, took 
out a card, stamped it and put it on top of a neat pile 
of cards on her desk. She leafed through the book 
for a moment, and Jonathan wondered whether she 

Stories: The Little Fairy — 385 



suspected anything. But even if she did, the little fairy 
was hidden from view. Mrs. Peatly handed the book 
back to Jonathan. 

"It's due tomorrow, Jonathan," Mrs. Peatly said. "You 
may have heard that our library is closing down, and 
our books will be distributed among the other libraries. 
Tomorrow is our last day." 

Jonathan put on his coat, careful to tuck the book under 
it to keep it dry. Outside, the rain was still beating down, 
and Jonathan hurried home along the path, trying this 
time to avoid the large, muddy puddles. 

The back door of his house was unlocked. His mother 
was in the kitchen, preparing supper. 

"Oh, my, you're soaked," his mother greeted him as he 
tried to slip past her. "Let me have your coat before you 
catch a cold!" 

"It's okay, Mom, I'll take care of it myself," Jonathan said, 
quickly making his way to his room. 

Jonathan closed the door to his room behind him, and, 
reaching under his coat, carefully pulled out the book. 

"Where are you?" he whispered, turning the book this 
way and that. 

Nothing happened. 

He dropped to the floor, and, folding his legs in front of 
him, held the book firmly in his hands. 



386 — REFLECTIONS 



"Where are you?" he repeated. 

Again, nothing happened. 

Jonathan opened the book and started reading. His eyes 
were caught by one of the illustrations of the little fairy. It 
looked so much like the real one, he thought. 

Suddenly, right before his eyes, the little fairy appeared, 
wriggling herself out of the illustration. She stood up and 
quickly scanned the room. 

"Are we quite alone?" she asked in a whisper. 

"Oh, yes, quite alone," Jonathan answered, making sure 
he whispered. "My mother is busy in the kitchen, cooking 
supper." 

"Anyone else in your family?" the little fairy asked. 

"You really don't need to worry about my family," 
Jonathan tried to reassure the little fairy. "They'd believe 
me if I told them about you." 

"I doubt it," the little fairy said. "Grownups never do. 
Who's in your family, anyway?" 

"Well," Jonathan said, "there's my older sister, Lisa. 
She's at a friend's house right now. And my dad. He's a 
doctor. He won't be back until suppertime." 

"Good!" the little fairy said. "We can talk, then." 

The little fairy seated herself on the book, and Jonathan 
carefully placed the book on the floor in front of him. 

Stories: The Little Fairy — 387 



"Where do you come from?" he asked the little fairy, 
glad for the chance at last to find out more about his little 
visitor. 

"Why, from here," the little fairy replied, pointing to the 
book on which she was sitting. 

"You mean you live inside the book?" Jonathan asked. 

"Exactly!" The fairy seemed puzzled that he should ask. 

Jonathan thought this over for a moment. 

"But I thought that fairies come from a magic world that 
is far away," Jonathan finally said. 

"Oh, no!" the little fairy shook her head.'The magic 
world is right here, in this book and in other books. Only 
grownups think the magic world is far away." 

The little fairy stretched, and, putting her hand to her 
mouth, stifled a small yawn. 

"But do you always come out when someone is reading 
this book?" Jonathan asked. 

"Not always," the little fairy replied. 

There was a knock on the door, and instantly the little 
fairy disappeared into the book. 

Jonathan got up and opened the door. His mother was 
standing in the doorway. 

388 — REFLECTIONS 



"You still have your coat on," his mother said as she 
came in. She glanced around the room and spotted the 
open book on the floor. "What have you been doing all 
this time? Reading?" 

"Yes," Jonathan said. 

"Well," his mother said, picking up the book and looking 
at the cover. "Doesn't seem worth catching a cold over." 

She tossed the book down on the floor, and Jonathan 
quickly bent down to pick it up. He hoped that nothing 
had happened to the little fairy inside, and he hugged 
the book to his chest. 

"It's a very special book," he said to his mother. "You 
mustn't throw it. You might hurt the little fairy inside." 

"Hurt the little fairy?" his mother laughed and shook her 
head. "Don't be silly! It's only a book. Now, off with your 
coat before you catch a cold!" 

Jonathan held the book firmly in one hand and then in 
the other as he took off his coat. As soon as his mother 
was out of the room, with the door closed behind her, he 
sat down on the floor again. 

"Where are you?" he whispered as he held the book 
in his hands. He quickly turned to the illustration out of 
which the fairy had emerged before. "Where are you?" 
he repeated. 

But the little fairy did not respond. Perhaps she was hurt, 
and could not get up, Jonathan thought. What could he 
do? How could he help her? 

Stories: The Little Fairy — 389 



His eyes fell upon the text and he started reading. 
Suddenly, right out of a page of text, the little fairy 
appeared and stood up, smiling at him. 

"I'm sorry," Jonathan whispered as he put his hand out 
to the fairy, palm up. The little fairy jumped right into 
Jonathan's palm, and he held it right in front of his face. 
"Are you hurt?" 

"Oh, no!" the little fairy said. "We fairies are used to 
being tossed and bumped. But nothing can hurt us. We 
just keep on going." 

"Forever?" Jonathan asked. 

"Yes, forever," the little fairy replied, "or at least as long 
as there are books to read and children to read them. 
And that will probably be forever." 

"But why did you come out today?" Jonathan asked, 
resuming the conversation they had before his mother 
interrupted. 

Suddenly, the door opened, and Jonathan's sister, Lisa, 
came in. The little fairy quickly jumped out of Jonathan's 
hand and disappeared into the book in his lap. 

"Who were you talking to?" Lisa asked as she surveyed 
the room. "To yourself?" 

"No," said Jonathan. "I wasn't talking to myself." He 
hesitated for a moment before he told her. "I was talking 
to the little fairy that lives in this book." 



390 — REFLECTIONS 



"The fairy that lives in this book," Lisa repeated in a 
mocking tone. She picked the book out of Jonathan's lap 
and leafed through it. "I don't see any fairy!" she said, 
and tossed the book on the floor next to Jonathan. "It's 
time for you to grow up and stop believing all that kid 
stuff. Or are you too dumb to know there are no fairies 
living in books?" 

Lisa marched out of the room, slamming the door behind 
her. 

Jonathan hesitated for a moment, then picked up the 
book and started reading. Was Lisa right? Was there 
really no fairy living in this book? Was he just letting his 
imagination run wild? 

Jonathan felt a tug at his ear and turned to see the little 
fairy perched on his shoulder. 

"But you are real!" he could not help exclaiming. For 
there she was, the little fairy, standing there, her head 
level with his eyes, and she was even lovelier than he 
had remembered. 

The little fairy put her finger to her mouth as if to silence 
him, and tugged at his ear again. 

"We'll have to whisper," she whispered in his ear. 

Jonathan nodded. 

The little fairy sat down on Jonathan's shoulder, making 
herself comfortable, letting her feet dangle toward his 
chest. She stretched her arms up in the air and yawned. 



Stories: The Little Fairy — 391 



"Why did you come today?" Jonathan whispered down 
to the fairy on his shoulder. 

"Because you were reading my book," the little fairy 
replied. 

"But you said you don't always come out when someone 
is reading your book!" Jonathan protested. The words 
came out too loud. He had forgotten to whisper. He 
quickly glanced at the door to see if he had been 
overheard. "I mean," he whispered, "why did you come 
out when I was reading your book?" 

"Because I wanted to meet you," the little fairy replied. 

"Why me?" Jonathan asked. 

The little fairy seemed pensive for a moment. 

"Because," the little fairy said, looking up at Jonathan 
through the corners of her eyes, "because you believe 
in magic. I only come out to meet those who believe in 
magic." 

Jonathan was puzzled. 

"But how did you know that I believe in magic?" 
Jonathan asked. 

"From the way you chose the book, silly!" the little fairy 
replied. "Remember?" 

"Oh, yes!" Jonathan whispered. Of course he 
remembered. The magic trick. Close your eyes. Let 



392 — REFLECTIONS 



your hand run across the books until you feel a small 
vibration at your fingertips. "Oh, yes!" he exclaimed. 

Almost immediately his door opened and his father 
appeared in the doorway. Instantly, the little fairy slid 
down his chest and vanished into the book. 

"Well, son," his father said as he glanced suspiciously 
around Jonathan's room. "Were you speaking to 
someone? I was walking by and was sure I heard you 
speak." 

"Well..." Jonathan wondered if he should tell his father. 

"Or were you talking to yourself?" his father asked. 

"Oh, no!" Jonathan replied. He didn't want his father to 
think that he was speaking to himself. "I was talking to 
the fairy, the one who lives in this book." 

Jonathan carefully picked up the book and handed it to 
his father. 

"The fairy that lives in this book, eh?" his father said, and 
gave a big belly laugh. He examined the cover of the 
book. "Are you sure you're all right, son?" 

Holding the book in one hand, Jonathan's father bent 
down and put his other hand to Jonathan's forehead. 

"You do seem a bit flushed," his father said. "Looks like 
you're running a slight temperature. Were you out in the 
rain?" 

Jonathan nodded. 

Stories: The Little Fairy — 393 



"Best thing for you to do is get into bed and have a good 
rest. No more reading." 

Jonathan's father turned to leave the room, with 
Jonathan's book in his hand. 

"But, Dad!" Jonathan blurted out. "I want my book back. 
I need it. I mean, it's due tomorrow. The library is closing 
down." 

"Don't worry about a thing," his father said. "I'll return the 
book to the library first thing in the morning, on my way 
to work. As for you, you'll have to stay in bed tomorrow, 
too." 

"But, Dad!" Jonathan cried out. "Can't I have the book 
for just a few more minutes, just to read it once more? 
Please!?" 

"I think you have already read one fairy tale too many, 
son," his father said. "A fairy living in the book, eh? Now 
get into pajamas and hop into bed. I'll ask your mother to 
get you some tea." 

And with the little gray book tucked under his arm, 
Jonathan's father walked out of the room, closing the 
door behind him. 

"Goodbye, little fairy!" Jonathan whispered, and could 
not hold back his tears. "Goodbye!" he cried. 

But the little fairy appeared to Jonathan again that night, 
as he lay in bed. He could see her clearly as before, 
perched on his shoulder. They spoke of many things, 

394 — REFLECTIONS 



and when morning came and she was about to leave, 
she reached over and kissed his cheek. 

"Will I ever see you again?" Jonathan asked. 

"Oh, yes," the little fairy said. 

"But where?" Jonathan asked. "The library is closing. 
How will I find you?" 



"You'll find me where there are books," the little fairy 
said. "In some library, somewhere." 

"Are you sure?" Jonathan asked. 

"Oh, yes, quite sure," the little fairy replied. "Because you 
believe in magic, don't you?" 



Stories: The Little Fairy — 395 



THE VERY OLD PAINTER 

Judith Weinshall Liberman 

Not very long ago, there lived a very old woman who 
liked to paint. She lived in a very large old house on 
the edge of town with a very old man, who was her 
husband. 

Every day, at breakfast, the very old man would read the 
morning papers and sigh. 

"What is it, my dear?" the very old woman would ask. 

"What a pity!" the very old man would say. "The papers 
are filled with stories of war and death, of old age and 
loneliness. It's a sad world we live in, my dear." 

"Sad, indeed," the very old woman would say. 

And after breakfast, the very old man would get into his 
very old car and drive to town. On his way, he would 
wave to the young man living down the street, who was 
his only neighbor, and the young man would wave back. 
The very old man would go to the general store in town 
to buy food for himself and his wife, and whatever else 
they needed. 

But the very old woman did not go shopping. Right after 
breakfast, she would go downstairs to her basement. 
There, she would prop a fresh large canvas on her 
easel. She would squeeze paint out of tubes onto her 
palette, mix them, dip in her large brush, and paint. 



396 — REFLECTIONS 



She used a lot of black paint, and dark purple, deep 
green and blue and blood red, and sometimes she 
would use a muddy brown and a cool gray. She would 
paint in bold strokes, filling up the whole canvas quickly 
with large shapes and furious movement. 

"It's a great painting, my dear," the very old man would 
say. For as soon as he got back from his errands, he 
would hurry to the basement to see what his wife had 
painted. "Your painting is true to life. You have captured 
the feeling of war and death, of old age and loneliness." 

"Not quite, my dear," the very old woman would say, "but 
I will try again tomorrow." 

And the next day, right after breakfast, the very old 
woman would go down to her basement to paint a new 
painting, as she did the day after that and the day after 
that. Her husband would take the painting as soon as 
it was finished and hang it on the wall of one of the 
rooms of the house, where he could look at it as he 
paced up and down. Soon, all the walls of the living 
room were filled with paintings, and those of the dining 
room and the den, the bedrooms and the halls. Even 
the bathrooms and the kitchen were filled with paintings, 
until there was no more room. 

"My dear," the very old man said one day at breakfast 
as he put aside his morning papers. "I think you should 
invite the director of the town museum to see your 
paintings." 

"But how can I, my dear?" The very old woman replied. 
"I am busy painting!" 



Stories: The Very Old Painter — 397 



"Then I will, my dear," the very old man said. "What 
a pity it would be not to let the world see such great 
paintings!" 

And the very old man got into his very old car and drove 
to town. On his way, he waved to the young man living 
down the street, and the young man waved back. The 
very old man passed the store where he always did his 
shopping, and waved to the store keeper, who waved 
back. He drove past the art gallery to the museum, and 
went in to speak to the director. 

"I have come to invite you to see my wife's paintings," the 
very old man said to the museum director. 

"Your wife?" the museum director asked and opened his 
eyes wide. "Who is she?" 

"She is a great painter," the very old man replied. 
"She paints about war and death, about old age and 
loneliness. Her paintings are true to life." 

"But is she alive or is she dead?" the museum director 
asked, lifting his large nose in the air and looking down 
at the very old man. 

"Oh, alive, of course!" the very old man said. "She is my 
wife!" 

"Sorry," the museum director said. "We only show 
paintings by artists who are dead." 

The very old man went home and told his wife. 



398 — REFLECTIONS 



"Never mind, my dear," the very old woman said. "I shall 
simply continue to paint for myself and for you, as I 
always have." 

"But it would be a pity to deprive the world of such great 
paintings!" the very old man said. "Perhaps I can speak 
to the owner of the art gallery in town, and he can show 
your paintings in his gallery." 

The next day, the very old man drove into town to speak 
to the owner of the art gallery. 

"I have come to invite you to see my wife's paintings," he 
said to the gallery owner. 

"Your wife?" the gallery owner exclaimed, puffing on his 
cigar. "Who is she?" 

"She is a great painter," the very old man replied. 
"She paints about war and death, about old age and 
loneliness. Her paintings are true to life." 

"But is she an established artist?" the owner of the art 
gallery asked, taking another puff on his cigar. "Has she 
shown her works, and do they sell?" 

"She has never shown her paintings except to me," the 
very old man said. "That's why I've come to speak to 
you." 

"Sorry," the gallery owner said. "We only take 
established artists." 

The very old man returned home and told his wife. 



Stories: The Very Old Painter — 399 



"Never mind, my dear," the very old woman said. "I shall 
simply continue to paint for myself and for you, as I 
always have." 

"But it would be a pity to deprive the world of such great 
paintings," the very old man said. "Perhaps I can speak 
to the store keeper, and he can show your paintings at 
his store." 

The next day, the very old man drove into town to speak 
to the store keeper. 

"I have come to invite you to see my wife's paintings," the 
very old man said to the store keeper. 

"Your wife paints?" the store keeper asked and chuckled. 

"Yes," the very old man replied. "She is a great painter." 

"And what kind of painting, may I ask, does she do?" the 
store keeper asked, turning to rearrange the tomatoes. 

"She paints about war and death, about old age and 
loneliness," the very old man replied. "Her paintings are 
true to life. I thought you might show them at your store, 
where people can see them." 

"But who needs paintings like that around?" the store 
keeper asked and turned to rearrange the carrots. "We 
try to keep the place cheerful. War, death, old age, 
loneliness, hah!" he exclaimed. "The papers are too full 
of that already." 

The very old man returned home and told his wife. 



400 — REFLECTIONS 



"Never mind, my dear," the very old woman said. "I shall 
simply continue to paint for you and for me, as I always 
have." 

"But it would be a pity to deprive the world of such great 
art," the very old man said. "Perhaps I can speak to the 
young man who lives down the street and invite him to 
see your paintings." 

The next day the very old man got into his very old car 
and drove down the street to his young neighbor's place. 
He found the young man in his garden. 

"Hello!" said the very old man. "I hope I'm not disturbing." 

"Not at all," the young man said and smiled. "Just 
passing the time of day." 

"I've come to invite you to see my wife's paintings," the 
very old man said. 

"I didn't know she paints," the young man said and 
laughed. 

"Oh, yes, she does" the very old man said. "She's a 
great painter. She paints about war and death, about old 
age and loneliness. Her paintings are true to life." 

"Sounds mighty strange to me," the young man said, and 
started weeding his garden. 

"But will you come?" the very old man asked. 

"I'm afraid I really can't," the young man replied. "I'm 
terribly busy." 

Stories: The Very Old Painter — 401 



The very old man returned home and told his wife. 

"Never mind, my dear," the very old woman said. "I shall 
simply continue to paint for myself and for you, the way I 
always have." 

And she did. She painted and painted and painted, 
until not only the walls of her house but the walls of her 
basement were covered with paintings. 

And when the very old woman died, her husband kept 
all her paintings on the walls the way they had been, 
and he would pace up and down the very large house, 
looking at each of the paintings in turn, and sighing. 

"She was a great artist," he would say to himself. "What 
a pity..." 

One day, not long after the very old woman died, the 
tax assessor came to the very old man's house and 
knocked on the door. 

"I am here to see what your wife left," the tax assessor 
said. He glanced at the paintings on the walls all around. 

"My wife was a painter," the very old man said and 
sighed. 

"But they're great!" the tax assessor said, marching 
briskly from one painting to the next, and writing 
furiously in his little black book. "They are worth a 
fortune!" 



402 — REFLECTIONS 



And when the story about the very old woman's 
paintings and their great value was published in the 
papers, people from the town and from the surrounding 
towns and even from out of state and from other 
countries flocked to the very old man's house to see his 
wife's paintings and to buy them. 

But the very old man kept the doors to his house locked, 
and would not let anyone in. 



Stories: The Very Old Painter — 403 



THE BIRD'S LAST SONG 



WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED WITH WOODCUTS 



BY 



Judith Weinshall Liberman 




Copyright© 1976 by Judith Weinshall Liberman 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 405 



THE FOLLOWING ILLUSTRATIONS 

HAVE BEEN REDUCED IN SZE 

FOR PURPOSES OF REPRODUCTION 



406 — REFLECTIONS 







It was winter, 
and it was icy cold. 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 407 




An old bird 

huddled against 

a tree trunk. 



408 — REFLECTIONS 








The old bird 

would have liked 

to fly to a nice, 

warm place; 

but he was too old 

and too sick 

to fly. 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 409 



That was why 

the old bird 

had not flown south 

this winter with all 

the other birds. 



410 — REFLECTIONS 




That was why 
he was here 

all alone. 

But no matter; 

he would try 

to forget 

his troubles 

and he would sing 

He could 

still remember 

what happened 

long ago. 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 411 




He was young 

when it happened, 

and was returning 

from his first 

winter journey 

with his father. 



412 — REFLECTIONS 




As they landed, 

music filled the air. 

It was the sound 

of many birds 

chirping and singing 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 413 




He had turned 

to his father to ask 

where all those sounds 

came from. 

His father said, 



414 — REFLECTIONS 




"Those are the frozen 

sounds of dying birds, 

each bird's last song, 

thawing in the spring sun." 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 415 




So now, 

sitting alone, 

the old bird 

opened his beak 

and chirped. 

No living creature 

could hear him. 

Yet he chirped 

on and on, 
singing his song. 



416 — REFLECTIONS 




The sound 

of his singing 

seemed to freeze 

in the air. 

But he kept on 

with his tune 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 417 




until he fell dead, 
his beak frozen open 



418 — REFLECTIONS 




When spring came, 

the birds returned 

from their winter journey. 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 419 




And they heard 

music in the air 

all around the tree. 



420 — REFLECTIONS 




A little bird 
turned to his father 

and asked, 
"Father, where does 
that beautiful music 

come from?" 

And the little bird's 

father replied, 



Stories: The Bird's Last Song — 421 




"These are 

the frozen sounds 

of a dying bird, 

his last song, 

thawing 

in the spring sun." 



422 — REFLECTIONS 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
JUDITH WEINSHALL LIBERMAN 

Born in Israel (then called "Palestine"), Judith Weinshall 
Liberman came to the United States in 1947 to pursue 
higher education after completing high school in her 
native city of Haifa. She earned four American university 
degrees, including a J.D. from the University of Chicago 
Law School and an LL.M. from the University of 
Michigan Law School. While teaching law in Israel in 
1955, she wrote a textbook on public international law in 
Hebrew for use by her students. 

After settling in the Boston area in 1956, she studied art 
and creative writing. Her art studies were at various art 
schools in the Boston area, including the School of the 
Museum of Fine Arts, the DeCordova Museum School, 
and the Massachusetts College of Art. She completed 
all course work for the M.F.A. degree at Boston 
University School for the Arts and was certified as an art 
teacher. 

In the early 1960s, Ms. Liberman began creating some 
of her numerous series of artworks, using a wide 
variety of mediums, including oils, acrylics, graphics, 
mixed media, wall hangings, sculpture, ceramics and 
mosaics. She is primarily known for her artworks about 
the Holocaust. A book titled HOLOCAUST WALL 



423 



HANGINGS, based on one of her three series on the 
Holocaust, was published in 2002. Her art has been 
widely exhibited in one-person shows in museums and 
other public institutions in the United States and in Israel, 
and is represented in important museum collections 
as well as in the collections of scores of other public 
institutions. 

During her long career in visual art, Ms. Liberman wrote 
and published several books. Her children's book, THE 
BIRD'S LAST SONG (Addison-Wesley, 1976), which 
she wrote and illustrated, won a citation as one of the 
"fabulous books of the year." THE BIRD'S LAST SONG 
was one of several stories Ms. Liberman wrote over the 
years. In 2007, she published her autobiography, MY 
LIFE INTO ART. 

Judith Weinshall Liberman's interest in playwriting 
dates back to her college days in the late 1940s, when 
she wrote her first play. In the years that followed, 
she studied playwriting and wrote several plays. After 
reaching her eightieth birthday, Ms. Liberman devoted 
several years to writing plays and musicals. LOOKING 
BACK, her first book of plays, was published in 2010. 
The play GOOD OLD ABRAHAM, included in that book, 
was performed by the Shades Repertory Theater under 
the direction of Samuel Harps at the historic Central 
Presbyterian Church in Haverstraw, New York, in the 
spring of 2010. EMPATHY, another play in LOOKING 
BACK, was used by Mr. Harps as the screenplay for a 
film. Her second book of plays, ON BEING AN ARTIST, 
contained three plays and the libretto for one of her two 
musicals. VINCENTS VISIT, one of the plays in that 
book, was staged by the Shades Repertory Theater 
under the direction of Samuel Harps in 2012. All four 



424 



dramatic works in ON BEING AN ARTIST deal with 
art as a creative process, a subject about which Judith 
Weinshall Liberman is eminently qualified to write. 

Ms. Liberman's appetite for writing lyrics was whetted 
by her work on her two musical plays, i.e., GOOD OLD 
ABRAHAM: THE MUSICAL and TO BE AN ARTIST 
She had written poetry on and off since her college days 
in the late 1940s. Although her own mother was a poet 
and had many poems published in her native Russia and 
in Israel, Judith Weinshall Liberman never anticipated 
that she herself would devote full time to writing poems 
and lyrics when she reached old age. 

Ms. Liberman's archives can be found in the Special 
Collections Department of the Boston Public Library and 
at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. 



425 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR/EDITOR: 
LAURA LIBERMAN, M.D. 

Laura Liberman, M.D., was born in Boston, 
Massachusetts, in 1960. As a child, she studied the 
piano and loved playing piano duets with her father, 
Professor Robert Liberman. She was guest piano soloist 
with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 10 and 12. 
She was admitted to Harvard University at the age of 
16. At Harvard, she majored in Biochemistry, graduating 
as the Radcliffe Valedictorian in 1980. After attending 
medical school at the Columbia College of Physicians 
and Surgeons, she did an internship in Internal Medicine 
at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and a 
residency in Radiology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering 
Cancer Center in New York City. A passionate writer, 
she wrote fiction and non-fiction in the form of poems 
and stories during her youth and medical training. 

She joined the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 
(MSKCC) faculty in 1990 as an Attending Radiologist 
on the Breast Imaging Service in the Department of 
Radiology. Since 2005, she has also served as Director 
of MSKCC's Program for Women Faculty Affairs, a 
career development program for women doctors and 
scientists. In 2007, she was honored as MSKCC's 
Mentor of the Year. As part of her medical career, Dr. 
Laura Liberman has written more than 100 scientific 



427 



papers, including pioneering studies of breast needle 
biopsy, in which she developed and validated new 
techniques for diagnosing breast cancer without surgery. 
She has also written and edited medical textbooks. 
She has lectured around the world about breast cancer 
detection and diagnosis, and has been named by New 
York Magazine as one of the Best Doctors of New York. 

After serving for 17 years as a doctor at MSKCC, she 
was diagnosed with cancer and treated at her hospital. 
In 2009, she published her memoir, I SIGNED AS 
THE DOCTOR: MEMOIR OF A CANCER DOCTOR 
SURVIVING CANCER (BookLocker.com). Candid and 
humorous, this memoir captures the surreal experience 
of being both a cancer doctor and a cancer patient, 
a scenario that resembles being in a play where you 
know all the lines but you're reading the wrong part. She 
lives in New York City with her husband of more than 
30 years, and has two grown children. She loves the 
theater, music, books, mindful meditation, and exploring 
New York. A selection of her writings is included in this 
book. 



428 



INDEX 

A POEM A DAY, 332 
ACCOMPLISHMENT, 194 
ARTISTS DON'T DIE, 351 
AT THE WEDDING, 126 
BEING DEVOUT, 265 
BEING GOOD, 293 
BENEATH THE SAND, 137 
BETRAYAL, 150 
CAMOUFLAGE, 58 
CANINE CUISINE, 67 
CHAIN, 146 

COLOR IN OUR WORLD, 310 
DEAR ANNE-MARIE, 121 
DEAR STUDENT, 74 
DIAMOND RING, 115 
DO NOT SEND ME, 15 
DRIVING, 268 
DYING YOUNG, 217 
EASILY SHAKEN, 349 
ENDLESS WAR, 204 
FAITH, 32 
FISHING, 63 
FLOWERS, 315 
FLY AWAY, 59 
FOR FEAR, 38 
GOOD HEALTH, 233 
HEAVEN, 7 

429 



HER LETTER, 39 

HER SUICIDE, 104 

HOUSE TO LET (story), 362 

HOW ARE YOU?, 230 

HOWLING WIND, 157 

I CAUGHT A TOAD THIS MORNING, 65 

I DON'T LIKE FALLING LEAVES, 46 

I MADE A LITTLE ANGEL, 61 

I PULLED MY BACK IN ST. CEZAIRE, 326 

I WOKE UP, 355 

ICE CREAM SNOW, 321 

ICE CREAM SNOW (story), 369 

IF I KNEW, 300 

IF WE COULD SOAR, 303 

IF YOU REMEMBER ME, 197 

IN A STORMY LAND, 124 

IN HAIFA BAY, 130 

IN THE MILITARY CEMETERY, 210 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, 207 

IN THE WOODS, 109 

KEEPING ON, 294 

KNOWLEDGE, 236 

LEGALLY BLIND, 188 

LET GO!, 298 

LETTER TO MY FATHER, 96 

LETTER TO MY HUSBAND, 25 

LETTER TO MY MOTHER, 101 

LIAR, 263 

LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER, 219 

LION AND THE LAMB, 55 

LOVE IS LOVE, 4 

MAN AND WOMAN, 13 

MEMORY, 239 

MINDFULLY IN PARIS, 329 

MOM, I MISS YOU, 224 



430 



MY BROTHER, SAUL, 119 

MY DARKEST SECRET, 183 

MY HOME, 289 

MY NANNY, 106 

MY PRINCE, 9 

MY REGRETS, 185 

NOT FOR ME, 35 

ODE TO A NEUTROPHIL (story), 364 

ON ART, 344 

ON BEING A GRANDMA, 286 

ON BEING A PARENT, 284 

ON CAVES, 297 

ON COLLABORATION, 334 

ON COMPASSION, 276 

ON ENVY, 278 

ON FRIENDSHIP, 272 

ON KINDNESS, 274 

ON LIFE'S PAIN, 295 

ON LONGING, 279 

ON MATING, 282 

ON NINE-ELEVEN, 225 

ON SHOWERS, 292 

ON THE BEACH, 154 

ON THE ROAD, 136 

PET PROJECT, 162 

PHI BETA KAPPA, 76 

PINK ROSES, 313 

PLATO AND ME, 79 

POLITICAL PRISONER, 99 

PUPPY LOVE, 111 

QUEEN FOR A DAY, 304 

RED, GRAY AND BLACK, 222 

REUNION, 172 

RIVAL, 260 

SEEING RED, 168 



431 



SHOP AND SHOP, 245 

SNOW IS WHITE, 320 

SO DISTANT, 34 

SO MANY ROADS, 357 

SODOM, 202 

SOUL MATE, 27 

STOOD UP, 252 

TAKE CARE, MY DARLING, 16 

THE BEST THING ABOUT LIFE, 30 

THE BIRD PERCHED ON THE WINDOWSILL, 51 

THE BIRD'S LAST SONG (story), 405 

THE BLANKET, 213 

THE BUTTERFLY, 57 

THE CAT CURLED UP, 66 

THE CHERRY TREE, 50 

THE CRABAPPLE TREE, 49 

THE ELEPHANTS, 69 

THE FIELDS OF TAMRA, 134 

THE FINGER OF GOD, 227 

THE FLOWERS, 47 

THE LETTER THAT YOU DID NOT WRITE, 42 

THE LITTLE FAIRY (story), 381 

THE MAGIC FLOWER, 318 

THE MOTHER BIRD TEACHES HER YOUNG, 52 

THE MOUSE TRAP, 68 

THE PIGEONS, 62 

THE RABBITS, 54 

THE ROSES, 48 

THE SEASHELL, 64 

THE SQUIRRELS, 53 

THETREEHOUSE, 60 

THE TUNNEL, 148 

THE VERY OLD PAINTER (story), 396 

THE WAY HE WAS, 20 

THE WORLD'S DEAREST MATE, 23 



432 



THOUGHTS AT NIGHT, 177 

THOUGHTS AT SUNRISE, 180 

THREE HUES, 341 

TORN BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES, 139 

TWELVE NOTES, 339 

TWENTY-SIX LETTERS, 337 

VANITY, 242 

WERE YOU A HONEYBEE AND I A ROSE, 56 

WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND, 192 

WHAT I WISH FOR IN LIFE, 182 

WHAT IS AN ARTIST?, 346 

WHAT IS THE FORCE?, 143 

WHAT IS THE STAR?, 356 

WHEN WE MET, 18 

WRITER'S BLOCK, 353 

WHY DO CHICKENS CROSS THE STREET?, 71 

WHY DO DOGS CHASE CARS?, 70 

YOUR CALL, 256 



433 



POETRY 



ABOUT THE BOOK 



REFLECTIONS includes works 
written or adapted from writings 
created over a period of more than 
half a century. This anthology 
contains poems, lyrics, and stories, 
each written by one member of the 
mother-daughter team of Judith 
Weinshall Liberman (mother) and 
Dr. Laura Liberman (daughter). 
The vast majority of the works were 
previously unpublished. 



Both authors have spent most of 
their adult lives pursuing activities other than writing. For decades, 
Judith Weinshall Liberman created visual art. Dr. Laura Liberman 
has had a rewarding career in medicine. Yet both authors have long 
had a passion for writing and have written extensively within and 
outside their career fields. Judith Weinshall Liberman has published 
six books. Dr. Laura Liberman wrote I SIGNED AS THE 
DOCTOR (2009), a memoir recounting her experiences as a cancer 
doctor surviving cancer. 




In REFLECTIONS, the authors reflect on their lives and the 
people they have known. The poems, lyrics, and stories in 
REFLECTIONS cover a wide range of topics, and are arranged 
in about a dozen categories. Some writings are humorous, while 
others are somber. All come from the authors' heart. Like life itself, 
REFLECTIONS covers the whole gamut of human experience. 



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